- Series: Modern Library 100 Best Novels
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback; Reissue edition (January 12, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812988523
- ISBN-13: 978-0812988529
- ASIN: 0385333846
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3,433 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels) Paperback – January 12, 1999
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“Poignant and hilarious, threaded with compassion and, behind everything, the cataract of a thundering moral statement.”—The Boston Globe
“Very tough and very funny . . . sad and delightful . . . very Vonnegut.”—The New York Times
“Splendid . . . a funny book at which you are not permitted to laugh, a sad book without tears.”—Life
“Funny, satirical, compelling, outrageous, fanciful, mordant, fecund . . . ‘It’s too good to be science fiction,’ [the critics] would say. But Vonnegut doesn’t care, and you won’t care, either, because this is a writer who leaps over genres.”—Los Angeles Times
From the Inside Flap
"Slaughterhous-Five is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centering on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.
"From the Paperback edition.
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There's the obvious story, which is about Billy Pilgrim, a veteran and optometrist who is seemingly suffering from some sort of mental illness like PTSD from his time in the war, and also some sort of possible brain damage suffered from an airplane crash. These elements compound each other and Billy finds himself traveling through time to different points in his life; during his time in World War II, during his time with his wife Valencia, on a planet inhabited by the Tralfamadorians (who have him locked up as a human zoo exhibit), and a few others.
But then there is the author's underlying messages, one of which is about the utter senselessness of war. The Germans are making candles out of the Jews while Americans are melting German teenagers and we all know that the Soviets were starving tens of millions of their own while fighting the Germans. It's just a vicious cycle of death and evil.
The other message is a philosophical one. There's a very strong sense that there is no free will and there is also a sense of nihilism that no matter what we do, the outcomes are fixed, and the future unchanging.
I hope that the philosophical message isn't a correct one. I tend to side with those who believe strongly that we are in control of our fates and that no matter how dire the circumstances, we have the choice to make things a little bit better. Ironically I think Vonnegut has done exactly that with his book. He has made an impact with this book by bringing awareness to the evils of war.
Read the book. It's a good one.
This is a quite unique book. A kind of Sci-fi that I hadn’t read before but that I really liked. Vonnegut does an excellent job mixing history with war criticism and science fiction. It seemed to me an odd combination that didn’t appeal to me at first. It’s probably because of this unlikely combination that this book is so peculiar.
It was a hard reading when I started (maybe I wasn’t in the proper mood) but then it flowed quite easy, the story absorbed me. The main character is pretty interesting: a time traveler and yet, quite a normal American. A soldier, and optometrist and a time traveler. Not the best soldier, a well-known optometrist by chance and average in every aspect but for time travel, and the fact that he was abducted by aliens. Maybe the fact that he is quite a normal guy makes relatable a tale so unrelatable.
This is a Sci-fi book yes, but I think that, more importantly this is a book about war. This book tries to portray war from the perspective of a soldier who survived and how he experienced all the horrors of war. This book reminded me slightly of Johnny Got His Gun . War is a terrible thing, and those who pay the ultimate price are young naïve soldiers and innocent victims.