Book – Slaughterhouse Five
Author – Kurt Vonnegut
Year – 1969
Genre – World War II/Sci-Fi
Slaughterhouse Five is a book that I have wanted to read for a very long time, so it was lovely to receive a copy in my stocking on Christmas morning. The main reason that I wanted to read it was that for a very long time I thought – simply from the title – that it was a comic book. Once I found out that it was actually about the authors experiences during World War II, I thought that simply to correct my misconceptions about it, it was something that I needed to read. However, it was only once I started to read the book that I realised that as well as being a war book, it is also based upon a Sci-Fi concept.
The story takes place in a massively non-linear fashion, with the main character – Billy Pilgrim – recalling memories of his life in a pretty random order. This is because the story is a mixture of the horrors of the war, with focus upon the bombing of Dresden – an event that is widely regarded as one of the most unnecessary and excessive attacks by the Allies during the Second World War – and Pilgrim’s travels to another planet after he is abducted by aliens.
As strange as this combination seems, it makes for an incredibly moving depiction of the hopelessness of war, and despite being considered as a science fiction book, I felt that it is left up to the reader to decide whether or not Pilgrim has actually been abducted by aliens, or whether it is his way of coping with the stresses of war.
All in all, this is a terrific book, and an excellent place to go to if you are keen on topping up the number of ‘classic’ books that you have read.