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Slaughterhouse-Five
Cover of Slaughterhouse-Five
Slaughterhouse-Five
or, The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death
Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes "unstuck in time" after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch-22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it unique poignancy - and humor.

Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes "unstuck in time" after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch-22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it unique poignancy - and humor.

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  • AudioFile Magazine Here it is in all its glory: the book that has baffled high schoolers for two generations. From Dresden to Tralfamadore and all the places in between, Vonnegut tells a story that's impossible to put down. To make matters even better, the book gets star treatment from narrator Ethan Hawke, who immerses us in the author's words. Hawke almost whispers his way through the text as if letting us in on a big secret, and he is marvelously effective. He uses impeccable diction and effective pauses to create an atmospheric world that gives the book an authentic otherworldly feel. By the end, Hawke has taken us on a journey that both illuminates the author's words and reflects our understanding of them. R.I.G. (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 1, 2004
    "Listen: Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time." So begins Vonnegut's absurdist 1969 classic. Hawke rises to the occasion of performing this sliced-and-diced narrative, which is part sci-fi and partially based on Vonnegut's experience as a American prisoner of war in Dresden, Germany during the firebombing of 1945 that killed thousands of civilians. Billy travels in time and space, stopping here and there throughout his life, including his long visit to the planet Tralfamador, where he is mated with a porn star. Hawke adopts a confidential, whisper-like tone for his reading. Listening to him is like listening to someone tell you a story in the back of a bus—the perfect pitch for this book. After the novel ends, Vonnegut himself speaks for a short while about his survival of the Dresden firestorm and describes and names the man who inspired this story. Tacked on to the very end of this audio smorgasbord is music, a dance single that uses a vintage recording of Vonnegut reading from the book. Though Hawke's reading is excellent, one cannot help but wish Vonnegut himself had read the entire text.

  • AudioFile Magazine Ethan Hawke's intimate reading of SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE breathes new life into this bravely constructed time-traveling tale. There's so much interesting stuff going on here--vivid characters, big ideas, absurdity, antiwar sentiment, pathos, and a whiff of existentialism--and it's all given narrative drive by Hawke's calming cadence and cozy tone. Whether you've read the book before or are just now discovering it, this audiobook is a wonderful introduction to Vonnegut and to a world where the joys of life may be buried on a distant planet. The production also includes an interview with Vonnegut and a selection of the late author reading a mesmerizing sequence. So it goes. R.W.S. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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