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Listening to the Silence

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The Owl Killers
Karen Maitland
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown
Cloud Atlas
David Mitchell


Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time. A veteran of World War II, an optometrist, and a survivor of an alien abduction, he travels back and forth through time. He opens a door into the past, closes his eyes and wakes up on another planet, has a nervous breakdown and discovers a two bit science fiction author who later becomes his friend.

To be honest, I didn't get it. I know it is supposed to be an anti-war novel, and I found the parts dealing with his wartime experiences quite good, but the Tralfamadorian storyline and the time travel didn't work for me. I am operating under the theory that the time travel was an excuse to write the story in a non-linear format and to highlight the confusion of a man who is clearly experiencing PTSD. It is my belief that the aliens work in much the same fashion, he is mingling the storyline of his life with that of a novel by his favorite author in order to make his own life bearable. I think that if Vonnegut had picked one or the other it would have made more sense to me.

Or maybe not. This is my second Vonnegut novel and I cannot say that one made much more sense to me. I just keep getting the feeling that I am missing something because his books go right over my head. He is an obviously skilled writer, and despite my confusion I will likely continue to read his books. I just don't think that Vonnegut and I are destined to be besties.