Robert's Reviews > Mother Night

Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
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's review
Nov 07, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites
Read in November, 2011

Kurt Vonnegut has been a strong source of respite for me the past few years. Whenever I feel too caught in with silly things in my silly life and need to unwind, I know I can find my cure between the covers of a Vonnegut novel. Mother Night makes seven in my family of his books and I read Cat's Cradle at least once a year. Perhaps it's because I'm a 22 year-old, bitter and cynical, and he just speaks to me, man, but there's a certain comfort I draw from my experiences with his work.

With that said I picked up Mother Night because the author himself, in his own personal ratings, held it up with the best of his works (Vonnegut, in a humorous and self-deprecating move, gave all his books a letter grade - let's just say they weren't all A's). Like many Vonnegut fans, my heart has established Cat's Cradle as the pinnacle of his works. While I still stand by that belief, Mother Night certainly carves its place in that highest echelon of Vonnegut novels.

The novel is a passionate sea of sheets, cloistering beautiful insights on topics ranging from sex to war and everything else that falls between. Vonnegut explores espionage, vigilantism, and the extent by which one can perform evil in the name of good. It's a spy novel for those who always felt spy novels were a little lean on the bigger picture, something Vonnegut never fails to deliver despite his rather minimal, humorous style. As for the moral of the story, Vonnegut splays it out for all to see in the very first paragraph of his introduction: "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." I cannot recommend Mother Night enough.

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