Review of 'Slaughterhouse 5'

Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut

slaughterhouse_five.jpg “Billy Pilgram” is a man who has become unstuck in time moving backwards and forwards in his life in a matter of moments. From his time as a prisoner of war in World War 2 to his successful life as an optometrist in the years that followed. Billy is exposed to the work of the obscure Science Fiction writer Kilgore Trout when recovering in a vetran's hospital after an emotional breakdown during the war. After the war Billy is determined to not only share his experience in surviving the bombing of Dresden in Germany but also of his kidnapping by aliens to be put on display in a zoo on Tralfamadore (later accompanied by one-time porn star Montana Wildhack).

A classic of modern fiction (if such a thing exists), this is certainly an interesting book - Confusing and odd in equal measure. The ambiguity of whether the events being described are real are not is left up to the reader to decide (most obviously the Tralfamadore thing). We follow the story of Billy Pilgram who, at times, is extremely odd (Tralfamadore again) but at other times extremely banal (optometrist?) who is simply trying to make sense of what he is experiencing.

From a technical writing perspective, going back and forth in time is a remarkably effective plot device moving the story forward quite effectively. The terse, contemporary, prose is often witty describing as it does incredible events.

If I can say, I found this a fun, quick and easy read. It is not a deep novel but it is certainly one heck of a ride.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2015-12-27

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Vintage

Publication Date: 1969

ISBN: 0099800209

Other reviewed books by Kurt Vonnegut: