Written by Kurt Vonnegut, the science-fiction and anti-war novel, Slaughterhouse Five was published 50 years ago today on March 31st 1969.
Following the life of Billy Pilgrim, readers travel through time – sometimes in World War 2, and occasionally, (for some reason) with aliens. The novel takes readers through twists and turns, as the narrative changes through place and location, each experience changes how Billy perceives the world around him, and we view how his philosophy changes and evolves.
The novel makes use of the author’s own anti-war stance, as well as Vonnegut’s own experiences during the bombing of Dresden during World War Two; even breaking the fourth wall to say that war isn’t something that should be hoped for. The repetition of “so it goes” after the announcement of death shows just how de-sensitised society is to violence. Slaughterhouse Five presents elements of PTSD and philosophical wondering.
The novel promotes peace in times of war, and although controversial in some aspects, the novel leaves a mark on readers – a mark that has now lasted for 50 years.
Click on the link below to watch the trailer for the film version of the classic novel: