Slaughterhouse Five — Kurt Vonnegut

Jan van den Berg
Jul 6 · 1 min read

Slaughterhouse Five is a well-known classic. And I had been wanting to read it for quite some time now, and now that I finally did, I must say it was absolutely not what I expected.

In a good way.

Slaughterhouse Five — Kurt Vonnegut (1969) — 220 pages

The book is a sort of autobiographical non-chronological story about the bombing of Dresden, but it is also about time travel, space travel and aliens and different thoughts on philosophy. So yes, there is quite a lot to unpack in this wondrously written meta-fiction novel.

As a reader you have to work hard to keep up with all the time and place switches. But the fantastical and funny storytelling make that easy. (Vonnegut has a certain dry comedic style that I suspect people like Douglas Adams must have been inspired by.)

But even the — sometimes — nihilistic black humour can’t hide that Vonnegut is actually trying to tell or show the reader something. What that is, is largely up to the reader — and also what makes this a postmodern book. One of the things the book itself claims to be, is an anti-war book. And that is certainly also true. So it goes.


Originally published at Jan van den Berg.