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Slaughterhouse-Five Audiobook

Slaughterhouse-Five

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Publisher's Summary

Slaughterhouse-Five is the now famous parable of Billy Pilgrim, a World War II veteran and POW who has, in the later stage of his life, become "unstuck in time" and who experiences at will (or unwillingly) all known events of his chronology out of order and sometimes simultaneously.

Traumatized by the bombing of Dresden at the time he had been imprisoned, Pilgrim drifts through all events and history, sometimes deeply implicated, sometimes a witness. He is surrounded by Vonnegut's usual large cast of continuing characters (notably here the hack science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and the alien Tralfamadorians, who oversee his life and remind him constantly that there is no causation, no order, no motive to existence). The "unstuck" nature of Pilgrim's experience may constitute an early novelistic use of what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder; then again, Pilgrim's aliens may be as "real" as Dresden is real to him.

Struggling to find some purpose, order, or meaning to his existence and humanity's, Pilgrim meets the beauteous and mysterious Montana Wildhack (certainly the author's best character name), has a child with her, and drifts on some supernal plane, finally, in which Kilgore Trout, the Tralfamadorians, Montana Wildhack, and the ruins of Dresden do not merge but rather disperse through all planes of existence.

Slaughterhouse-Five was hugely successful, brought Vonnegut an enormous audience, was a finalist for the National Book Award and a best seller, and remains four decades later as timeless and shattering a war fiction as Catch-22, with which it stands as the two signal novels of their riotous and furious decade.

©1969 Kurt Vonnegut (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"James Franco is an inspired choice as narrator for this anti-war classic. While still young, he still manages to sound world-weary.... Franco has fun with the offbeat characters and Vonnegut's quirky text but keeps the overall tone thoughtful.... Franco's reading gives the 1960s classic a freshness that will appeal to both new listeners and Vonnegut's many fans." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (682 )
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  •  
    Dean 11/04/2017
    Dean 11/04/2017 Member Since 2016
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    "A must for anyone."

    Genuinely an amazing peice of work. Listened to it one sitting and only felt disappointed that it had to end so soon. So it goes.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack 18/04/2016
    Jack 18/04/2016
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    "loved it"

    I totally loved it. book is great and Franco is class as per usual. Hopefully he does more.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jitesh Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom 16/04/2016
    jitesh Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom 16/04/2016 Member Since 2017
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    "story wasn't slaughtered "

    6 hours of bizarre stories. Well worth a listen made especially pleasing by James Franco.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Lancaster England 16/04/2017
    S. Lancaster England 16/04/2017 Member Since 2015
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    "As astute and relevant today as it was in 1968."

    Vividly read, beautifully written. The madness of war is lampooned with pity and wild imagination.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ms 03/04/2017
    Ms 03/04/2017 Member Since 2017
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    "Astonishing and beautifully written and read."

    A tale of the utter futility of war. What it is really like, the aftermath, the consequences for those who take part. Everyone should read or listen to this book. There is nothing glamorous about death and destruction.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 25/03/2017
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    "So it goes"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    No, the book is a classic for a reason.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    No doubt many will love the fact that it is being narrated by a Hollywood star, simply because it is being narrated by a Hollywood star. However, his laconic performance, whilst not distracting, brings absolutely nothing to enjoyment of this book. In fact, I would recommend sticking with the good old fashioned ink on paper edition of this book as I personally found that much more enjoyable than this version, simply due to the narration.


    Do you think Slaughterhouse-Five needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No. Why is the world so obsessed with sequels and prequels?


    Any additional comments?

    If you are a James Franco fan, or get star struck easily, you'll love this performance, otherwise, stick with the paperback.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Dawkins UK 22/01/2017
    Matthew Dawkins UK 22/01/2017
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    "A brilliant listen"

    A fantastic novel read in a touchingly wry way by James Franco. I highly recommend giving it a listen.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    steven 09/03/2016
    steven 09/03/2016 Member Since 2016
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    "Worth every penny"

    A great book strangely haunting yet amusing in places and Franco's performance is very soothing a mix of dryness and charm

    14 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simon Bathing in Stormlight - I may be gone some time! 05/06/2017
    Simon Bathing in Stormlight - I may be gone some time! 05/06/2017 Member Since 2017
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    "Did I Enjoy it or Experience it?"

    "Unputdownable", "unmissable", "unreadable" we've seen them all in amongst the many reviews that populate sites like Audible and Amazon. Well how about "unreviewable"? That's pretty much how I'm finding Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five".

    Audible have it in the Fiction-Humour section. There is some really black humour in there but particularly in this form with James Franco's laconic drawl it really isn't going to have you searching for the LOL icon. It's often described as sc-fi but although yes there is a race of aliens so it can reasonably have that tag attached to it I wouldn't call it that either. It's also a book about war and here is where, if anywhere, I would settle. After all it was inspired by the author's real experience of World war II and in particular the Dresden bombing. Even if I settle on that though it isn't going to satisfy anyone who wants a detailed account of the awful events that took place there.

    My take on it, which is just one of many possible conclusions, is that this is a story of a confused mind left traumatised by life and particularly the sheer inhumanity of the war. It jumps around time but there are clear signposted images of how Bill Pilgrim's personal narrative came about. I don't think the aliens in Vonnegut's story are supposed to be real, they are figments of Pilgrim's tortured imagination designed to reconcile him to what has happened to him. A Three Musketeers candy wrapper, some sci-fi books he adores and the similarities to those stories and so on are cleverly placed.

    The result of his time displacement though is that the story is deliberately disjointed and at times the links aren't obvious or indeed even there. As a representation of a troubled mind I think it's excellent and would recommend the book on that basis. Whether that is actually enjoyable though will very much be a matter of taste. I'd say give it a go because it is very, very clever but be prepared that it might not meet your personal taste. I'm still not convinced as to whether I enjoyed it or simply experienced it. The fact that I'm struggling with it in so many ways is as good a reason to recommend it as any though if you want a reading challenge.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wras 03/04/2017
    Wras 03/04/2017 Member Since 2017
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    "trapped in the amber of this moment."


    A book about war and the inhumanity of being human, a timeless time perspective of all the things that keep on repeating the same mistakes with horrible regularity and yet we choose to accept as new phenomena of our very particular time, were we commit very old crimes “So It Goes”.

    A sad beautiful tale that is not afraid to expose the ugliest of truth, a desperate attempt at creating a change in a world that is stuck in the amber of its own creation constant war to prove we were right once, or we can sell over there in freedom because we won the war and “So It Goes”.

    A classic that is rebellious and confrontative, with anarchic, nihilistic thoughts, to liberate us from complacency and acceptance of the of the status quo, “So It Goes”.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
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  • Darwin8u
    Mesa, AZ, United States
    22/01/17
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Everything is nothing, with a twist."

    I've read Slaughterhouse-Five several times and I'm still not sure I know exactly how Vonnegut pulls it off. It is primarily a postmodern, anti-war novel. It is an absurd look at war, memory, time, and humanity, but it is also gentle. Its prose emotionally feels (go ahead, pet the emotion) like the tug of the tides, the heaviness of sleep, the seduction of alcohol, the dizziness of love. His prose is simple, but beautiful.

    Obviously, part of the brilliance of this novel is born from the reality that Vonnegut is largely playing the notes of his own song (obviously, obscured by an unreliable narrator, time that is unstuck, and generous kidnapping aliens). It is the song of someone who has seen horrible, horrible things but still wants to dance and smile (so a Totentanz?).

    Emperor, your sword won't help you out
    Sceptre and crown are worthless here
    I've taken you by the hand
    For you must come to my dance

    I had to work very much and very hard
    The sweat was running down my skin
    I'd like to escape death nonetheless
    But here I won't have any luck

    It is essentially art pulled out of the tension between despair and hope, grief and celebration, love and death. It is a classic not because it has a message about war, but because it has a message about life. Vonnegut aimed at war and hit everything.

    43 of 47 people found this review helpful
  • Expat back home
    EU
    21/11/15
    Overall
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    "Read it again."
    Would you listen to Slaughterhouse-Five again? Why?

    I read this book perhaps 30 years ago. I'm delighted to be reintroduced. A great author and great story. Even if depressing.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The dry wit.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me laugh and cry.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is read very well. The actor gets the subtlety of the book.
    If you read this book in high school, read it again and you'll appreciate it even more.

    22 of 25 people found this review helpful
  • JL
    01/12/15
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    "Good book, meh narrator"

    Although I liked the book, I wasn't a fan of James Franco's reading of it. His mumbling and flat affect made the book made the book feel a bit tedious.

    50 of 58 people found this review helpful
  • Matt Trahan
    23/01/16
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    Story
    "Good Performance"

    The dry reading fits the prose perfectly. Emphasis and character voices are used well. You can tell James Franco is a fan. Not to mention that the book is a classic all interested should read.

    21 of 27 people found this review helpful
  • true britty
    Minnesota
    04/08/16
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    "So it goes...and I didn't want it to end"

    I have read this book three times and listened to Ethan Hawke read on CD twice.

    James Franco adds an incredible voice to this classic anti-war novel with its disjointed chronology. He is deadpan and on the mark, giving the satire room to breathe.

    As for the novel, I was forced to read it in high school and reluctantly fell in love the shambling WWII vet Billy Pilgrim.

    He flops between time periods like an awkward flamingo, makes a living as a bored optometrist, makes love to his giant of a wife and infuriates his daughter with tales of alien abduction. And what middle-ager wouldn't want to be abducted if his co-abductee were a bosomy porn star?

    There's also an extraterrestrial zoo.

    Vonnegut has written a masterpiece.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Keith
    Houston, TX, United States
    20/11/15
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    "Don't Quit Your Daytime Job, James"

    Vonnegut is one of a kind, and if you like that kind, Slaughterhouse Five is not to be missed. However, the same cannot be said about this audiobook. I usually like James Franco as an actor, but I was greatly disappointed with his narration of this book. There was nothing at all remarkable about his voice. He mumbled some of the time, and he sounded bored and listless all of the time. He seemed to be phoning it in.

    56 of 66 people found this review helpful
  • Xavier
    29/01/17
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    Story
    "Surprising in many ways."

    I had heard a lot about this book and pretty much bought it on a dare with myself thinking "what could go wrong". As much as I like James Franco as an actor, I really wasn't sure of what to expect.

    If you feel the same about it, and hesitant about the purchase of this book, take the risk. Franco's voice and narration are a bit unsettling at first but so is the book. As unlikely as it may sound ,it's a great pairing.

    So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Yes, it will be a bumpy one.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Andre
    Hercules, California, United States
    10/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Important Post-War Novel"
    If you could sum up Slaughterhouse-Five in three words, what would they be?

    psychedelic, surreal, chaotic


    What did you like best about this story?

    Billy's time travel back and forth and beyond and how Vonnegut made the transitions. The refrain "and so it goes" every time someone died was hilarious.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    This is hard to say, because I love them all. The firebombing of Dresden and its aftermath stood out.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    And So It Goes.


    Any additional comments?

    The novel is fresh, modern, non-linear. Vonnegut pushed the form. It requires focus to listen to. Enjoy the ride. Do not try to make sense of it. Enjoy. "And so it goes."

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Canonsburgmike
    04/03/17
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    Story
    "What a waste of time and money"

    Can't fault the narrator as he did a good job. I thought this story was terrible. Like being the only sober person in a room of drunks or stoners rambling on about aliens and time travel.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Steve
    New Jersey
    03/11/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "SO IT GOES"
    What did you love best about Slaughterhouse-Five?

    If like me, you read this in school, all the memories will flood back about the unusual characters and situations. If this is new for you, I believe you will appreciate James Franco's soothing read. I'd been waiting a while for Mr Franco to record an audiobook. Audible had sent out a teaser by email a month early about this book, I was patient! As a fan, I particularly enjoyed his caedence and the nuances of his reading. To me it's like 'a work of art'! So it goes.


    54 of 76 people found this review helpful

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