Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review : Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

(Original review posted on Goodreads:- April 30th, 2013)

Neither does a war bring glory nor does a win in one ensure the moral infallibility of one
ideology over a conflicting one. Because essentially, war justifies countering genocide with more genocide. We all know that, right?
But nope, we don't. We only think we do. And that is what Kurt Vonnegut wishes to tell his reader, in a calm, detached and emotionless voice in Slaughterhouse Five.
He informs us, quite matter-of-factly that we don't know the first thing about a war and proceeds to explain to us what it really is, by fashioning a narrative as abstruse, disjointed and meaningless as war itself.
I must make a confession despite how morbid this may sound. I have a thing for war books because it's endlessly fascinating to read about the two World Wars which helped define our identity as a civilization in the last century. And despite the horrendous nature of crimes against humanity that were committed in both, these two wars held up a mirror in front of us where we could recognize our own failings as human beings and rectify our mistakes.
Which is why I agree with Tan Twan Eng's views on World War II:-,
"Moments in time when the world is changing, bring out the best and the worst in people."

But Vonnegut neither eulogizes war nor seeks to make our hearts bleed for the unimaginable loss and suffering it brings. Instead, he gives the traditional perspective on war a new twist by giving us a prolonged glimpse into the mind of a war veteran who neither considered himself a hero nor a coward. 

Billy Pilgrim's life or the way he viewed his own life in retrospect, was as chaotic and nonsensical as the war he fought in. It is the sheer absurdity of the concept of war that takes center stage in this highly experimental novel - how we carry on with our broken lives with a perverse sense of humor in the face of mindless cruelty and utter madness.

5 out of 5 stars.


  1. Great review, Samadrita! I really enjoyed this book.

    1. Rowena, thank you so much for reading. And this first comment on blogger. :D

      P.S.:- Scarlet is going to be reviewing books here as well, along with me.


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