10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Off beat, quirky and poigniant,
This review is from: Slaughterhouse 5, or The Children's Crusade - A Duty-dance with Death (Paperback)
This book certainly has the wow factor. It is unusual, funny, surreal and intense - like nothing ever read before, it stands alone.
It is the story of Billy Pilgrim who was a POW with the 'author' during the second world war. Billy travels back and forward in time visiting himself at various ages - including the period during the second world war and the fire bombing of Dresden. In addition to this strange time-travelling existence, or because of it, he is kidnapped and transported to the far awar planet of Tralfamadore in a flying saucer - where he is kept in a zoo (with a beautiful actress) that he cannot leave due to the outside atmosphere being poisonous.
(I told you it was surreal). This sounds very wacky - and it is.
The humour used in the book is hilarious - one of my favourite passages is where Billy is captured:
The dog, who had sounded so ferocious in the winter distances, was a female German Shepherd. She was shivering. Her tail was between her legs. She had been borrowed that morning from a farmer. She had never been to war before. She had no idea what game was being played. Her name was Princess.
This passage is followed up by a description of the Germans who are arresting the POWs - boys, old men and an officer sick of war.
The two main themes of the book are:
- life is not always wonderful (so it goes)
- war is fought by Children. Young men before they have begun to live are the fodder for war.)
I would not necessarily recommend this book to everyone, because it is so unusual and I can see how people may not get it - but it has a tremendous impact and deserves its critical acclaim.