Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Slaughterhouse 5

Author: Kurt Vonnegut Publication Date: 1969 Category: Science Fiction, War, American Fiction Who'll want to read it? Anyone interested in American literature but wants an easy read, science fiction fans after something a little more 'out there', World War II buffs Point of no return: "And, even if wars didn't keep coming like glaciers, there would still be plain old death." Classic line: "So it goes." What's it all about? Vonnegut uses the premise of a man who has been abducted by aliens and subsequently able to travel in time to revisit the firebombing of Dresden in World War II. Some of the history is dated - it cites David Irving as a serious historian even though virtually all of his work has been discredited (he is a holocaust revisionist for one). But if you ignore that, you're left with a sterling work of fiction. Vonnegut's experiences as a prisoner of war in World War II are relived through the character Billy. Pain, suffering, anguish and death are all exposed unflinchingly, yet there is a beautiful optimism underlying the novel. It is also rich in humour and, unlike some American literature, not heavy-going - light readers will love it as much as the scholarly types. If you love science fiction, war novels or any American fiction, you need to add this book to your reading list. Publisher: Vintage

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