Satire seldom works. People try it all the time and almost always fail. Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five” is always touted as one of the great existentialist satires of our time. Personally, I think he fails at it too. The book is considered a modern literary masterpiece. I didn’t find it satisfying to read.
Then why recommend it?
- It tells a compelling story of PTSD and war.
- It’s a book that requires work to understand. You have to think about what you just read, how it makes you feel, and what it might mean. I think that’s a good exercise for people and the book provides an excuse for that.
- It’s not all bad. It’s individual elements are quite compelling as vignettes.
- It’s been banned. Reading banned books is a thumb in the eye of those who would ban them and a personal commitment to being free to speak and write.
“Slaughterhouse-Five, an American classic, is one of the world’s great antiwar books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most.”