Slaughterhouse-Five - WikipediaBy Martin Chilton , Culture Editor online. Kurt Vonnegut , the satirical writer and humanist who died five years ago today in New York, still stirs up strong emotions. Only last autumn, his anti-war novel Slaughterhouse-Five , previously outlawed and burned in some American towns, was banned by a Missouri High School. Yet the appeal of the Indianapolis-born writer, who would have been 90 this year, blazes on. Basic Training , a previously unpublished novella by Vonnegut written while the author was working for General Electric in the s, shot to the top of eBook charts in America last month.
Kurt Vonnegut: So it goes
It follows the life and experiences of Billy Pilgrim , from his early years to his time as an American soldier and chaplain's assistant during World War II , to the postwar years, with Billy occasionally traveling through time itself. The text centers on Billy's capture by the German Army and his survival of the Allied firebombing of Dresden as a prisoner-of-war , an experience which Vonnegut himself lived through as an American serviceman. The work has been called an example of "unmatched moral clarity"  and "one of the most enduring antiwar novels of all time". The story is told in a non-linear order, and events become clear through flashbacks and time travel experiences from the unreliable narrator. The narrator describes the stories of Billy Pilgrim, an American man from the fictional town of Ilium, New York who believes he was held in an alien zoo on the fictional planet of Tralfamadore and has experienced time travel. As a chaplain's assistant in the United States Army during World War II, Billy is an ill-trained, disoriented, and fatalistic American soldier who finds he does not like war and refuses to fight "Billy wouldn't do anything to save himself".
Jokes and death - and specifically jokes about death - are perhaps the simplest way of summing up the life and work of Kurt Vonnegut Jr, who died last Wednesday at the age of 84, some weeks after suffering a fall. The truth is necessarily more complex, but Vonnegut was a writer whose insistence on straight-talking - despite the superficial tricks and elaborations of his novels - became a central credo, a way of registering his anger and bewilderment at the harm visited upon innocents by nations, governments and corporations seeking to shore up their power through obfuscation and cant. If one of his aims was to provide a voice for those innocents, his method of making himself heard was both courageous and effective; he told us the hardest of truths, but in the gentlest, funniest and most amiable way he knew how. He was, to use his own word, a 'sap'. But he was a sap who had seen and survived dreadful events. In , just a few months after his mother had committed suicide, he was taken prisoner during the Battle of the Bulge, where he was serving with the th Infantry Division of the US army.
The first authoritative biography of Kurt Vonnegut Jr. In , Charles Shields reached out to Kurt Vonnegut in a letter, asking for his endorsement for a planned biography. The first response was no "A most respectful demurring by me for the excellent writer Charles J. Shields, who offered to be my biographer. Shields, who offered to be my biographer". Unwilling to take no for an answer, propelled by a passion for his subject, and already deep into his research, Shields wrote again and this time, to his delight, the answer came back: "O.
I was Kurt Vonnegut's attorney, agent, manager and buddy for over 40 years, “ So it goes” does not denote apathy — in Buckley's words, Be the first to see reviews, news and features in The New York Times Book Review.
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