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Monday, January 6, 2014

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut


In my crazy spree of reading all those post-apocalyptic, dystopian novels - like Fahrenheit 451 and Anthem - I ended up with this novel.

Well, this is not particularly a post-apocalyptic novel. In fact, it is not literally dystopian, save for in some sense. But I was anyway recommended this book due to my interest in the above books. I checked out the blurb, it had time-travel. Sci-fi is always on my favourites list, so I started to read this book.

It is another reason that I have received this book as a gift. You wouldn't know how happy I was. Especially because it is a Vintage Classic - a new enthusiasm I picked up lately.

Blurb (from the jacket):
Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller - these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse. Slaughterhouse 5 is one of the world's great anti-war books. Centring on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.

Our review:
I liked the cover design of this book. Especially, its spine-cover of the book - the very same red-coloured spine with author's name in light seaa-blue text and the title of the book white text of same font as the author's. I liked it because, when all the Vintage Classics are huddled together in a shelf, it is a damn pleasurable sight to look at. You must try it.

I started reading this book with very little knowledge about the story. It was a grave mistake. It costed me three days of madness.

Firstly, I knew almost nothing much about the World War II. Except for, that it ended in 1945 (not even the exact date). If I had had read the blurb, maybe I would have checked out a few details about the bombing of Dresden, which is the sole detail and the basic foundation on which the whole story is built upon. Maybe that is one reason for the peculiar low rating, you will notice at the end of the review.

The book had nothing of the sorts of prologue or an epilogue or an introduction or not even a foreword. There were plain 10 chapters. First and the last chapters narrated in first-person, or rather, these parts had more of 'I's. Perhaps, those chapters were the prologue and the epilogue, respectively. But chapter 1 was more like introduction/foreword than a prologue.

When it comes to story, I am still hazy on what to define about it. There is no particular pattern. Everything about the book, now, after completing it, left me more confused than before. The protagonist of the story time-travels. Or maybe, so it seems, maybe he was lost recollecting his memories. He is kidnapped by a flying saucer and taken to a planet named, Tralfamadore, where he is stripped naked and is displayed in a zoo! Or maybe, so it seems, maybe he made all those things up. Damn! I am pretty unsure about the story after spending three whole days reading such a small-book, word by word.

However, the blurb claims that it is a anti-war book, but I feel it is more like a satire - something like Animal Farm, which also had its roots into the history, and of which I have no knowledge about. But it is true, when it, the blurb, says it centers on the infamous Dresden bombing. It is indeed infamous. Or else, I would definitely have heard of it. As I learn more about it, the more moved I was. The author called the place 'a moon' after the bombing. That gives the basic visual of Dresden, back then.

Well, the author's informal narration was one facet I would give a perfect-ten. Though, towards the end it bored the shit out of me, the better part of the novel was damn too entertaining, jovial, ironic sometimes, and very intriguing.



Title: Slaughterhouse 5

Author: Kurt Vonnegut

Alternate Title: The Childen's Crusade

Tagline: A Duty-dance with Death

ISBN (edition I've read): 9780099800200


Read between: 04-01-2014 to 06-01-2014

Publishers: Vintage Publishers

Pages: 177

MRP: ₹ 399

The best deal of this book could be found here:  

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