Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

December Books 9) Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut

Rereading this classic, which combines the horrors of the 1945 bombing of Dresden with the sfnal captivity of the hero by the aliens of Tralfamadore. Having first come to Vonnegut via Cat's Cradle and The Sirens of Titan as a teenager, I wasn't really sure what to make of this. Coming to it again a quarter-century later, I have a much deeper appreciation of Vonnegut's savaging of the surrealism of war, and of how trauma throws the rest of your life into a weird perspective. But I also find his attitude to women much more annoying - at least, to the women in the main part of the story, the mothers of Billy Pilgrim's children, Valencia Merble and Montana Wildhack (and Pilgrim's daughter Barbara). Having said that, the sanest character in the book is probably Mary O'Hare from the ostensibly autobiographical foreword; and it must also be admitted that most of the male characters are pretty unpleasant too.

Anyway, I can't think of many other sf novels which take the Second World War as their subject, and this is probably the best in that rather small set.
Tags: bookblog 2009, rereads, writer: kurt vonnegut
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