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Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.
Don't let the ease of reading fool you--Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters..." Slaughterhouse-Five (taken from the name of the building where the POWs were held) is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy--and humor.
"Listen: Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time." So begins Vonnegut's absurdist 1969 classic. Hawke rises to the occasion of performing this sliced-and-diced narrative, which is part sci-fi and partially based on Vonnegut's experience as a American prisoner of war in Dresden, Germany during the firebombing of 1945 that killed thousands of civilians. Billy travels in time and space, stopping here and there throughout his life, including his long visit to the planet Tralfamador, where he is mated with a porn star. Hawke adopts a confidential, whisper-like tone for his reading. Listening to him is like listening to someone tell you a story in the back of a busthe perfect pitch for this book. After the novel ends, Vonnegut himself speaks for a short while about his survival of the Dresden firestorm and describes and names the man who inspired this story. Tacked on to the very end of this audio smorgasbord is music, a dance single that uses a vintage recording of Vonnegut reading from the book. Though Hawke's reading is excellent, one cannot help but wish Vonnegut himself had read the entire text.
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I'm a big fan of this kind of dark humor. I really like the movie, "Dr. Strangelove" for that very reason. This book made me laugh for odd reasons. Read morePublished 6 hours ago by Zachary Gougar
Hurt Vonnegut's style in Slaughterhouse Five is different from anything I've ever read, but interesting. Read morePublished 7 hours ago by Calvin D Burton
I had to read this for school long ago and I didn't really remember it, so I thought if I read it again I would gain a new appreciation and a different perspective on the book. Read morePublished 8 hours ago by Laura
Classic, very well written, historical fiction. I don't think this is Vonnegut's best work, but it is certainly his most popular. Read morePublished 1 day ago by occorled
This was a terrifying and beautifully written book that at some points felt a bit like an acid trip. Read morePublished 2 days ago by AF
It is a timeless classic that deserves to be re-read. One of my favorite stories.Published 2 days ago by Stan K
This book is a must read and I'm sure it could leave anyone with a multitude of different feelings, but one that certainly sticks with you is a perspective of war that might make... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Kindle Customer
Vonnegut manages to craft an engrossing, thought-provoking, and compelling narrative, even as he deconstructs the very idea of narrative.Published 3 days ago by Philip Pelkey