- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 5 hours and 53 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HarperAudio
- Audible.com Release Date: November 7, 2003
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0000YSH2Y
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Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children's Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
The passive demeanor of Billy Pilgrim brings an interesting view of a mindset that is indifferent to many circumstances that would cripple most people. However I also believe Pilgrim's passivity is a condition his experiences in war have left on him and is in fact the result of his own internal struggle with the war which follows him through his "travels". This leaves one to believe that Pilgrim is hardly what one would call a reliable narrator, and one is left to wonder what memories and trials of his are genuine or fabricated.
Kilgore Trout is by far one of the most amusing characters to me and provides good comic relief. Even through his cameo in the story is rather brief at best. My favorite element by far though was the race of the tralfamadorians and their perceptions of time and free will. The side commentary on Jesus Christ being your everyday average joe stripped of any mask of divinity makes me wonder how many christians have been outraged by this book. I think personally it presents a more humble version of Christ as a figure, which I personally felt complimented his overall philosophies very well and would make a a lot of sense if such a thing could ever be proven as fact.
If anyone is looking for a book that takes one far off the beaten trail Slaughterhouse Five is for you. I believe it's exceptionally beneficial to bury yourself inside a story that can challenge preconceived notions and occasionally mildly disturb; depending on the readers moral compass and general constitution. There are very few books I can say that I would pick up and read a second, third, or even fourth time. Slaughterhouse Five has certainly established itself into those ranks and has become one of my favorites.
The truth of the matter is that it all sums up to nothing. In Slaughterhouse Five, we explore the age-old question of fate versus free will; in Vonnegut's view, there is only fate. Our decisions, actions, and interactions all add up to moments that are as they were meant to be, regardless if we think we have the capacity to change them.
This futility of action on pre-determined events sums up Vonnegut's view on war - it is a futile and senseless game, where one can meander in and out, unscathed, while others who tried so hard to change the tide of the battle die by the hundreds of thousands. This view of the lack of necessity of war became so particularly clear to me in this passage, where Pilgrim (Vonnegut's protagonist) describes a war film run in reverse, where destruction is neatly vacuumed up into the device of it's deliverance, where all humanity, (including Hitler) ages in reverse to become babies, and ..."conspired biologically to produce two perfect people named Adam and Eve, he supposed." The passage is beautifully written, showing the destructive power of war reversed, simply with a different perspective. Even more astounding, however, in this reverse timeline, is the return of all humans to the root of Adam and Eve as "perfect people". Vonnegut paints a stark contrast between God's creation of perfection, and Hitler's war machine of destruction in an attempt to achieve the same goal through the creation of an "Aryan" people.
Whether you agree with Vonnegut's view on war does not diminish his artful exploration of it, fate, and our purpose of existence (or lack there-of.) Worth reading.
This should be your introduction to Vonnegut. I've found that true Vonnegut fans don't often choose Slaughterhouse-Five as their favorite, but, instead choose one of Vonnegut's other wonders (Breakfast of Champions, Cat's Cradle, Sirens of Titan, etc.). I think that most would agree that this is a good jumping off point, just as, in music, people often start with Greatest hits albums and then work from there.
Only Vonnegut could make such a strange premise believable and emotional. The book shifts time and place from paragraph to paragraph without warning. It is about aliens and WWII. It all works so perfectly, however and is so profound to those who read carefully. Billy Pilgrim is one of the great characters in all of literature.