Slaughterhouse 5: The Children's Crusade - A Duty-Dance With Death
- Publication Date:
- 17 October 1991
- Modern & Contemporary
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Recently Re-Read this book after many years, (I downloaded a free copy of it from thecopia.com) and was happy to realize that I'm still a big Vonnegut fan. I guess really good books never lose their punch. The fire-bombing isn't taught much in school - at least I never learned about it. Too much else in World War II to learn. Vonnegut does a masterful job keeping that tragedy alive in history.
<b>Memorable Quotes</B> (there's several)"It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again. Everything is supposed to be very quiet after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds. And what do the birds say? All there is to say about a massacre, things like “Poo-tee-weet?”""There are 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. But old Derby was a character now.""He is in a constant state of stage fright, he says, because he never knows what part of his life he is going to have to act in next.""We went to the New York World's Fair, saw what the past had been like, according to the Ford Motor Car Company and Walt Disney, saw what the future would be like, according to General Motors. And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.""Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.""And Lot's wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human.So she was turned into a pillar of salt. So it goes." ""He was a funny-looking child who became a funny-looking youth - tall and weak and shaped like a bottle of Coca-Cola.""'The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever. '""He ate a pear. It was a hard one. It fought back against his grinding teeth. It snapped in juicy protest." "If what Billy Pilgrim learned from the Tralfamadorians is true, that we will all live forever, no matter how dead we may sometimes seem to be, I am not overjoyed. Still--if I am going to spend eternity visiting this moment and that, I'm grateful that so many of those moments are nice."
I was genuinely startled to see negative reviews of Slaughterhouse-Five here. Surely everyone thinks this book is a classic? On reflection though, I can see that Vonnegut's style of prose might irritate you and if it did, the book would be a write-off for you.This is a mad book; a quirky book. It's an anti-war book; a book about the infamous Dresden air-raid. And a book about Fate. Our hero for the journey is Billy Pilgrim who suffers the twin misfortunes of being abducted by aliens and becoming unstuck in time. This gives him a 4-dimensional perspective on life (i.e. time is fixed as the spatial dimensions are, and does not flow). It's a perspective which leaves him sanguine and accepting of life's vicissitudes.The book is short and Vonnegut also writes in small chunks, skipping from scene to scene, many of which are vivid and memorable. Vonnegut fills the book with many pointed observations. These aspects of the book make it compulsive reading and you could easily read this in one sitting.I've read it before & I'll read it again, no doubt. It's one of my favourite books; possibly my favourite.
Undoubtedly Vonnegut's early masterpiece. Based on his own experiences as a WWII POW during the allied fire bombing of Dresden in the closing days of the war, That is just the starting point for a non-linear narrative about an ordinary man experiencing the extra ordinary.
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