Introduced by John Sutherland
Illustrated by John Holder
One of the greatest anti-war novels ever written, this masterpiece from Kurt Vonnegut expertly juggles satire and science-fiction
Kurt Vonnegut's black satiric voice exposes the cruelties and aberrations of the human condition in a book that takes its place alongside All Quiet on the Western Front and Catch-22 as one of the greatest anti-war novels ever written.
'The irony is so great. A whole city gets burned down, and thousands and thousands of people are killed. And then this one American foot soldier is arrested in the ruins for taking a teapot. And he's given a regular trial, and then he's shot by a firing squad.'
On the night of 13 February 1945, Vonnegut was a POW sheltering in an underground abattoir as British night bombers destroyed Dresden. Miraculously he survived but it would be more than twenty years before he would write about the full horror of the city's decimation and its aftermath. In a brilliant blend of science fiction, history and memoir Slaughterhouse-Five tells the surreal story of Billy Pilgrim. Billy has 'come unstuck in time' and finds himself catapulted between his experience as an American GI in Nazi Germany, his post-war life as a successful optometrist and his capture by aliens who imprison him on the planet Tralfamadore where, as well as being welcomed into the pneumatic bosom of former Earthling starlet Montana Wildhack, he discovers that time, like death, is illusory.
'An extraordinary success. It is a book we need to read and re-read ... Funny, compassionate and wise'
'I first read Slaughterhouse-Five when I was in my teens, and assumed that throughout my life I'd read lots of books like it. But they've never come around - it remains a miracle to me - the wonderful, informal, unliterary voice, like your favourite uncle, just chatting away... the profound serious morality, so casually and lightly presented. Each time there's a war - and they keep coming, don't they - I return to this book. It reminds me of a lot of things. It reminds me just how wonderful and principled and magnificent Americans can be, at a time when people are lumping them all into one. It reminds me that you can really, really, really mess about with form. It reminds me that you don't have to write seriously to be serious. And it reminds me that Kurt Vonnegut is my favourite writer in the world.'
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Review by anon on 19th Jun 2014
"I bought the book for the story.It was discounted by 20% and when I used my voucher on it,it turned out that I got the book at half price! When it reached home,I was stunned.The book has that fitti..." [read more]