Slaughterhouse 5, by Kurt Vonnegut

I read Slaughterhouse 5 over a weekend, after finally finishing Gormenghast. After that slog, Slaughterhouse 5 was a breath of fresh air.

It tells the story of Billy Pilgrim, a US soldier in World War II who experiences the Dresden bombing at close hand. For reasons not explained, Billy has become unstuck in time, and slips between different periods in his life, including an alien abduction. That may sound like an odd basis for a book, and I guess it is, but it’s one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in the last year.

The writing is crisp, thought-provoking and engaging. It managed to make me think about, and find out more about, the Dresden bombings, while still remaining quirky and entertaining.

I’ve read a good number of “serious” books recently, and many of them have been hard work. It was good to be reminded that quality and thought-provoking writing doesn’t have to be heavy going.

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