Henry Avila's Reviews > Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
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Jun 06, 2012

really liked it
Read from June 20 to 25, 2012

Now for something completely different , stating it mildly ...Billy Pilgrim is not just another time travelling man, kidnapped by aliens from the unknown planet Tralfamadore and put in their zoo, he's an eyewitness to the destruction of Dresden, during World War Two. Our Billy an optometrist, (eye doctor) marries the boss's slightly overweight daughter Valencia (who no one else wanted, people are so unkind) . The couple have two disrespectful children, Barbara and Robert, the truth that he becomes very rich through his nuptials, doesn't make him a bad guy, lucky, I guess is the proper adjective . Billy is no prize either , a tall, skinny weakling, an ordinary looking man , with a peculiar tendency for nervous breakdowns... welcome to modern life. The only unique thing about him, is the fact he visits rather reluctantly different stages of his life, by way of an unexplained and altogether involuntary power , by time travel. Yet for a while at least, life doesn't become endless and boring, still not as much fun as you'd think, repeating situations again and again, ouch . IT DOESN'T MATTER HE'D RATHER NOT GO...Past, Present and Future, are all the same to poor Pilgrim, he can be at his daughter's wedding and in a few moments, be back as a P.O.W. in Dresden, Germany on February 13th, 1945, when 1,200 allied bombers from England and America, dropped thousands of explosives on the city. Causing fires to spread quickly and kill (fry) thousands, anywhere from 30,000 to 130,000 humans, nobody will ever know the exact amount. "So it goes ". Then poor Billy is back in Illium, New York, talking to his only friend, Kilgore Trout an unsuccessful science fiction writer, (75 unread novels) I understand you can get his books at the local library, if you are diligent . The cosmic flying saucer that took Mr.Pilgrim secretly to that strange world...(not sure if it's the right word for the weird planet) millions of light years away, through a wormhole, did Billy a favor. The very curious people of Tralfamadore like to watch and how. They are not embarrassed by any kind of activity, providing him with a young, beautiful, and eager movie starlet Montana Wildhack, for the prisoner. The salacious activity gives the inhabitants of this planet many hours of entertainment...Billy will never really die, he will always travel through time and space forever."So it goes".
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08/16/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

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message 1: by Babette (new)

Babette Wars are begun by the ultra-rich ala Rothschild (Bauer) and their ilk.

According to Gnostic beliefs this planet they call Anareta belongs to the ARCHONS and DEMIURGE (daemons & Satan).

Gnosticism does not ask, "How did evil come to exist in this place?" but rather, "How did good come to survive in this place?"

Tralfamadores could be interpreted as being Archons = Rothschilds/Rockefelers/Warhburgs etc.

Wars are fought for the rich (banksters) by the poor (masses).

Read up on Gnosticism, then read "Slaughterhouse Five" again.


message 2: by J. (new) - rated it 4 stars

J. Keck I enjoyed the story for the story's sake i.e. it's good and well-written. Surfing the web, I came upon Vonnegut's written account of being a war prisoner outside Dresden, German in 1945. His account of what had been done there is truly chilling. Initially, at home Americans wanted him tried as a traitor for his reportage. And, as the reviewer, writes: "'So it goes.'"


message 3: by Henry (last edited Sep 13, 2013 02:34PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Henry Avila Very interesting book,J.You can learn something new, every day.


message 4: by J. (new) - rated it 4 stars

J. Keck You're right! I suggest you might want to go an unearth Vonnegut's writing of his experience of Dresden. As I wrote, he was called a traitor for even mentioning it.


Cecily I've read this book a couple of times and am still not quite sure what to make of it. I guess you CAN learn something new, every day. And so it goes.


Henry Avila Vonnegut was an unique author.With a different kind, of writing style,Cecily.


Cecily Indeed, Henry. Have you read Galápagos? That's different in a different way. ;)


Henry Avila Not yet.Someday.Read this book,Sirens and Champions.Only 3 so far.


message 9: by J. (last edited Nov 05, 2013 08:53PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

J. Keck J. wrote: "You're right! I suggest you might want to go an unearth Vonnegut's writing of his experience of Dresden. As I wrote, he was called a traitor for even mentioning it."

Cecily, I think I'll read this book again. I think the horror of the fire bombing was hard to comprehend. According to Vonnegut's report, neutral Red Cross Swiss observers found cellars with the liquified remains of people knee-deep. The heat was that intense. From what I've read, Dresden was called the Venice of the North (a baroque city) filled with refugees fleeing the Russians. Since the city had been untouched until Feb. 13, 1945, it was assumed to be a "safe city." I guess it wasn't. As you said (like I did earlier): "And so it goes" (this isn't to be interpreted as callous on my part, nor on yours I'm sure). The repetition of brutality in history repeats itself again and again. Whether it's Carthage and Corinth burned to the ground, and their people enslaved by the Romans, to the Mongols murdering all three hundred thousand inhabitants of Bagdad, to 20th century wars of carnage and extermination, the march of history seems to have changed little.


message 10: by J. (new) - rated it 4 stars

J. Keck J. wrote: "J. wrote: "You're right! I suggest you might want to go an unearth Vonnegut's writing of his experience of Dresden. As I wrote, he was called a traitor for even mentioning it."

Cecily, I think I'l..."



Lada Fleur Pilgrim to0 the end of bearable


Henry Avila Wars and slaughter, continue to this day...


Ivonne Rovira J. wrote: "You're right! I suggest you might want to go an unearth Vonnegut's writing of his experience of Dresden. As I wrote, he was called a traitor for even mentioning it."

Thanks for alerting us; I had never heard about that. Knowing about the treason accusation really adds to the novel.


Henry Avila It is a story little known today, Ivonne.


Bookdragon Sean Great review! :) I still remember the exact opening paragraph of this book almost two years after reading it!


Henry Avila Thank you, it is a wonderful unique story...partly true...the writer expierenced some of the plot.


Ellie Great review, Henry. This book is a particular favorite of mine. I found the Dresden scenes horrifying and vivid. I believe Vonnegut was extremely affected by what he witnessed in the war. And he writes about it in such a brave way. And when he wrote this, questioning the war at all was considered unpatriotic (as I suppose today's wars are also treated).

Such a tragedy-but then that's what war is, one tragedy after (or along with) another.


message 18: by Henry (last edited Apr 16, 2017 07:45AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Henry Avila Love the phrase said many times, in the book "So it goes"...


message 19: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Barrow Wilfong I had to laugh when I read 75 unread novels. I hope that will not be my fate. Well, my mother will loyally read them.

This is one of my husband's favorite novels. It's on his bookshelf (we have our own shelves to keep track). One day I may read it but I'm glad I had your excellent review of it to give me a sense of the novel. It sounds dark. I may not be in a hurry to read it.


Henry Avila I am sure you will be successful in your endeavours...


message 21: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Barrow Wilfong Thanks, Henry!


message 22: by Henry (last edited May 25, 2017 10:37PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Henry Avila You're welcome.


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