Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time…
Slaughterhouse Five is a fairly incredible novel because it is in equal parts sci fi with five travelling aliens and memoir about being a prisoner of war and the bombing of Dresden by allied forces after World War Two. Billy Pilgrim follows Kurt Vonnegut’s path to Dresden. Kurt Vonnegut even had a cameo as a fellow prisoner of war- in a paragraph that always gets me;
An American near Billy wailed that he had excreted everything but his brains. Moments later he said, ‘There they go, there they go.’ He meant his brains.
That was I. That was me. That was the author of this book.
The story jumps around quite a lot, Billy bring unstuck in time and all, and leaps from Germany during the war to a ‘people zoo’ on the planet Tralfamadore.
One of my favourite parts of the book though, is the first chapter where Kurt Vonnegut tells the story of how the book’s full title, Slaughterhouse Five or The Children’s Crusade; A Duty Dance With Death, came about. In it he talks about the anger his friend’s wife had for war, and war novels that glorifies babies going to slaughter.
It’s a short but fantastic book and it really is one of my absolute favourites.