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.
©1969 Kurt Vonnegut; (P)2003 HarperCollinsPublishers, Inc.
"Hawke rises to the occasion....Hawke adopts a confidential, whisper-like tone...the perfect pitch for this book." (Publishers Weekly)
"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....By the end, Hawke has taken us on a journey that both illuminates the author's words and reflects our understanding of them." (AudioFile)
One of the stranger books that I have read, but the style of writing is unique and, combined with the excellent narration by Ethan Hawke it is well worth listening to. As for whether it is science fiction, I think this is a misrepresentation of a book that is much more a study of war and its terrible effects, a WWII history book, a study of insanity, with twisted black humour, a character study and some Sci-Fi thrown in. As you can tell, it is a book that is difficult to describe but impossible to forget.
"Suprisingly accessible and enjoyable"
I'd agree with previous reviewers that Ethan Hawke has nailed the naration perfectly. The book has a well written forward by the author also read by Ethan Hawke. I would also add that there are a couple of pleasant suprises hidden in the afterwards.
I'd previously only encountered the film of the book. Interesting to note that the film turned out to be a very fair representation of the book. I thought the book would be a struggle, but really, it's a breeze, at least in this spoken format, probably because KV had, prior to publication, gone thru so many re-writes as to make it not far off a masterpiece. So it goes!
An unforgettable book that truly transcends category & is a really great piece of literature.
Brilliantly read & the sort of audio book that makes you put off doing more important things just to continue listening.
"Forget the abducted by aliens...."
Slaughterhouse Five is 'science fiction' in the same way that George Orwell's 1984 was shelved in that most iniquitous section at the Lit and Phil library in Newcastle. If your cultural antecedents trace back to S?ren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche then you end up in Metamorphosis....if you are an American, then you end up on the planet Tralfamadore. This is a really good presentation of a great novel - a sometimes forgotten book which will be looked out as people re-read Vonnegut's novel following his death last year. In particular the Schlachthof-F?nf and fire bombing of Dresden depictions shine through and we are left marvelling at the basic humanity in the characterisation of Edgar Derby. Well worth a punt - and listen out particularly for the montage of music and voice as an unusual end-piece. I loved it.
"An anti-war classic"
One of my favourite books; the story of Billy Pilgrim, a man unstuck in time.
Displaying imaginative ideas and containing my favourite ever passages (where a war film playing backwards is described; planes sucking up bombs, then flying home and dismantling them), the book's inventiveness is juxtaposed by the main character, a contender for the world's most boring and passive man, whose harmlessness makes his presence in WW!! all the sadder.
A recurring motif is the book's reaction to death; "So it goes", we hear after every fatality, which stops this loss off human life becoming mundane as it would otherwise do, and makes us think about how many deaths the book has informed us of.
Ethan Hawke is suitably subdued throughout the reading, which wouldn't work in most audiobooks, but is actually quite fitting here, albeit monotonous.
"Right up there..."
It's still sinking in just how good this book is... I finished it half an hour ago and have been sat reflecting upon it. I just know that I must help people pondering how best to use one of their credits: Get this!
It is only 5-6 hours long but is packed with so many profound moments that would, if you were reading instead of listening, cause you to stop reading and stare into space for long enough for it to sink in. I had to pause, rewind, and listen again in order to never forget what had been said so many times...
Ethan Hawke also did an excellent job.
I will listen to this again!
In an attempt to catch up on some classic novels i've missed along the way, I choose this without knowledge of the author or plot. I understand now why it is held in such high regard. Conveying similar reflections to war as chronicled by Orwell in Homage to Catalonia, Vonnegut puts you in the eyes of the foot soldier of WW2 from a perspective that is humbling.
This is much more than a war novel though, Vonnegut flows fluidly through time and space giving this book an engaging sense of the huge social changes and destruction that took place only a generation ago. Time travel and musings on elderly reflection leave you looking at your own existence with new eyes.
This is not an easy 'read'. The way the story unfolds, through different periods or planets, makes it not easy to follow, you have to really pay attention. But if you do, you'll hear the poetry in the words and the beauty of the prose. Ethan Hawke does an outstanding job as a narrator, pulling you in as if he's telling you some very private memories.
"Sorry about Dresden"
A very creative mix of sci-fi satire and historical fact, softly and effectively read by Ethan Hawke.
"Very Smart and Stimulating"
Having a title about a Slaughterhouse, I have never imagined this book, to this moving, this poetic and fun. I cannot classify the book, as it has been a very interesting experience for me to listen to it (especially finely read by Ethan Hawke). I came to an understanding about creative writing, and I am reading the other books by the author to keep the unique taste it has left in my brain!
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