Billy Pilgrim becomes unstuck in time and experiences the events of his life out of chronological order. War and absurdity ensue.
I've never read Kurt Vonnegut up until now and when Slaughterhouse-Five showed up in my cheapo ebook email a few days ago, I decided it was time. Get it?
Slaughterhouse-Five is often classified as science fiction but it reads more like Kurt Vonnegut trying to make sense of his World War II experiences through a humorous (at times) science fiction story. It also seems to be a Big Important Book, due to novelly things like themes of anti-war and the absurdities that come with it. It also uses a non-linear plot structure to illustrate the timey-wimey nature of Billy's affliction.
There's not really a whole lot to tell. Slaughterhouse-Five is basically a collection of non-chronological events in Billy Pilgrim's life: his experiences in World War II, his life after the war, and his abduction by the Tralfamadorians, aliens who view events in time simultaneously rather than chronologically.
The bleakness and black humor go together surprisingly well, like beer and White Castles. I have to wonder, though, if Slaughterhouse-Five would be as highly regarded as it is if it didn't land on so many banned book lists over the years. Nothing like some controversy to get people to read.
While it wasn't pants-shittingly awesome, I enjoyed it quite a bit and I'll likely pick up another Vonnegut book in the future. Four out of five stars. So it goes.