Slaughterhouse-five, or, The children's crusade : a duty-dance with death
220923s2009 nyu 000 0 eng
|aSlaughterhouse-five, or, The children's crusade |ba duty-dance with death |cby Kurt Vonnegut.
|aDial Press trade pbk. ed.
|aNew York |bDial Press|c2009.
|a275 p. |c21 cm.
|a"A fourth-generation German-American now living in easy circumstances on Cape Cod (and smoking too much), who, as an American infantry scout hors de combat, as a prisoner of war, witnessed the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany, "The Florence of the Elbe," a long time ago, and survived to tell the tale. This is a novel somewhat in the telegraphic schizophrenic manner of tales of the planet Tralfamadore, where the flying saucers come from. Peace.".
Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five is ＂a desperate, painfully honest attempt to confront the monstrous crimes of the twentieth century＂ (Time).Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all timeSlaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous World War II firebombing of Dresden, the novel is the result of what Kurt Vonnegut described as a twenty-three-year struggle to write a book about what he had witnessed as an American prisoner of war. It combines historical fiction, science fiction, autobiography, and satire in an account of the life of Billy Pilgrim, a barber’s son turned draftee turned optometrist turned alien abductee. As Vonnegut had, Billy experiences the destruction of Dresden as a POW. Unlike Vonnegut, he experiences time travel, or coming ＂unstuck in time.＂ An instant bestseller, Slaughterhouse-Five made Kurt Vonnegut a cult hero in American literature, a reputation that only strengthened over time, despite his being banned and censored by some libraries and schools for content and language. But it was precisely those elements of Vonnegut’s writing--the political edginess, the genre-bending inventiveness, the frank violence, the transgressive wit--that have inspired generations of readers not just to look differently at the world around them but to find the confidence to say something about it. Authors as wide-ranging as Norman Mailer, John Irving, Michael Crichton, Tim O’Brien, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Strout, David Sedaris, Jennifer Egan, and J. K. Rowling have all found inspiration in Vonnegut’s words. Jonathan Safran Foer has described Vonnegut as ＂the kind of writer who made people--young people especially--want to write.＂ George Saunders has declared Vonnegut to be ＂the great, urgent, passionate American writer of our century, who offers us . . . a model of the kind of compassionate thinking that might yet save us from ourselves.＂ More than fifty years after its initial publication at the height of the Vietnam War, Vonnegut’s portrayal of political disillusionment, PTSD, and postwar anxiety feels as relevant, darkly humorous, and profoundly affecting as ever, an enduring beacon through our own era’s uncertainties.