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Thread: Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death- Kurt Vonnegu

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death- Kurt Vonnegu

    The title of this novel came up in the book title game and I became curious about it. I thought in fact that it was about the original children crusade and that the author was German, because of his name. He is in fact an American author, though descendant of Germans.

    As we say here: I aimed at was I saw and hit what I didnīt see. The novel is in fact an uncommon work which combines the bio of the author, his war memories and SF.

    Right in the beginning I was taken by the authorīs difficulty of approaching the main subject of his novel, (Spoilers) his memories of the destruction of the city of Dresden, which he witnessed as the war prisoner of the German. For years and years he "keeps writing on his war novel". One day he visits an old pal from war times and he notices that the wife of this friend is very incommoded at his visit, banging doors and so on. He is very astonished, because this is the first time he meets her. At last he ask her, what is the matter, and she tells him pointing to the childrenīs room: now you and my husband will talk about your war memories and then you will write your book and they will read it and get enthusiastic about the war and want also to fight at the war. So he promises that his book wonīt stimulate people to fight at wars. He dedicates the book to her.

    And then, at some moment, Billy Pilgrim, his alter ego comes to life. Pilgrim maybe because of the first pilgrims that reached America, maybe because of Vonnegutīs ancestors which went to America , or because of "The Pilgrimīs Progress" by Bunyam. Billy who who travels in time and place, between past and future, between US, the war scene and a planet called Tralfamadore.

    "Billy is spastic in time, has no control over where he is going next, and the trips aren't necessarily fun. He is in a constant state of stage fright, he says, because he never knows what part of his life he is going to have to act in next."

    Billy scuttles back and forth between the several scenarios of his existence, feeling an outsider in all of them.In his meekness he is like a modern clown of God. His life is structured round a devastating experience of war that never heals.

    I liked this novel a lot. It is a very human, though at times cruel account of the war. A sad irony seems to underlie it. The ending was a bit extended as if the author didnīt want to let his Billy go.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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    Registered User kev67's Avatar
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    I can't say I liked the book much. I did not like the jumping back and forward in time and the him being a captive of the space aliens; whether he was sane or insane. I don't like postmodernist literature. Just tell the story straight like any other decent war memoirist. There were some things about it I liked, such as the importance of well-fitting footware, which might make the difference between life and death.
    According to Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence once said that Balzac was 'a gigantic dwarf', and in a sense the same is true of Dickens.
    Charles Dickens, by George Orwell

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    "I did not like the jumping back and forward in time and the him being a captive of the space aliens; whether he was sane or insane...Just tell the story straight like any other decent war memoirist. "

    I see what you mean, kev. But jumbling the narrative is just the point. I liked it, because it showed the impossibility of his world ever become ordered again after what he had gone through. The idea, at least so it seems to me, is to make the readers share a bit of the discomfort of the protagonist.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Correction: The writer Is Kurt Vonnegut. I donīt know whether I forgot the "t" or it was cut, because of the length of the title.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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    A User, but Registered! tonywalt's Avatar
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    Love the book. Really loved the movie.

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Thanks, Tony! Me too.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

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