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Slaughterhouse-Five (The Children’s Crusade), by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

In author information, Book Reviews, nonfiction on July 30, 2010 at 1:24 am

With Sincere Regrets to my Favorite Phlebotomist and Fellow Wild-Haired Gypsy….

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. , in an attempt to reconcile his cumulative life experience with a singular experience, namely the day Dresden, Germany, was bombed into nothingness on February 13, 1945, seemingly asserts that points of time may be experienced or lived in random order and that one may simply spring from one point to another and live in that particular moment without affectation of any other moment, and likewise return again to any singular moment.  He never quite declares this theory in so many words, but the premise is inferred.

Although based around such a perplexing theory, I found Slaughterhouse-Five haltingly awkward and at times bizarrely random, quite possibly the very point Vonnegut, Jr. intended.  This perspective was empty and meaningless to this reader however, as I believe a story of human experience obviously felt with such force should be told from beginning to end with coherency so as to convey the brutality, the elation, the fear, confusion, and the purpose of the men who lived through this emotionally exhaustive dichotomy of reality. 

Vonnegut, Jr. failed to capture the essence and soul of those whose tales he relates with flat, clinical recollections of events that feel pieced together as if he gathered the shredded remains of memories and taped them onto posterboard.  Sadly, no redeeming glimpse of acceptance or peace is found between the covers of Vonnegut, Jr.’s book.  The joys of returning home, of family, love, and success are lost.  Instead of evaluating that fateful time in Dresden among and against an entire lifetime of experiences, Vonnegut, Jr. evaluates a lifetime of experiences through that singular point of horror and emptiness, and therefore etches horror and emptiness into all.

~Moira

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