Saturday, April 7, 2007

Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

I continue not to understand (or possibly appreciate) Kurt Vonnegut. I really enjoyed Cat's Cradle, but thus far nothing else of his has worked for me. Slaughterhouse-Five is the latest case in point.

I know it's a classic piece of science fiction, but I just don't get it. It's not funny. The characters aren't well developed. The prose is simple to the point of monotony. I'm writing like Vonnegut now. Ugh.

The front cover of my copy has the following gushing review on it:
Poignant and hilarious, threaded with compassion and, behind everything, the cataract of a thundering moral statement.
- The Boston Globe
I didn't feel much poignancy here, and I never even cracked a smile, let alone found anything "hilarious". Compassion? Maybe, but not for his characters. They're all cardboard cutouts. And that "thundering moral statement"? Ummm... war is bad. Yeah. That's deep. Maybe that moral would have meant more if I'd cared about any of the characters in the story.

The best thing about this book was the first chapter, which was really an introduction that explains (in some measure) that at least parts of the book are true and autobiographical. I appreciated that far more than the rest of the content.

Oh well. I have a few more Vonnegut works in my TBR pile. I wonder how they will fare?