I recommend it
Wednesday, 20 November 2013
It is said that it is one of the best antimilitarist novels. Its author, Kurt Vonnegut, like the main character, Billy Pilgrim, was a witness of the destruction of Dresden (Germany) by the Allied bombers when the Second World War was close to finish. The “reason” was to hasten the end of the war. For that reason 135,000 people were killed in a town which was not a military target (it was an open city, it was undefended, and contains no war industries or troop concentrations of any importance).
Billy was a war prisoner and was locked up in the slaughterhouse of the town, in the building number 5. He was one of the few survivors, survived?
When we meet the main character, he is already a mad man because of the war. In fact he lives travelling along the time and mixes reality with fiction inside his crazy mind. However, the reality is more unreal than his imaginations. He said that he has been abducted by the Tralfamadorians. They are alien beings and appear to be very interesting in the Earthling people. The Tralfamadorians know that the time doesn’t go by, they know that everything happens at the same time so they see all the moments, all the ages, simultaneously.
Billy speaks the same about the cruelty of the was, about his sweet childhood in a small village of the USA, about his marriage for money, about the dead of his father, the dead of his wife, about his daughter who cares for him, about his son who is a green beret in the Vietnam War, about his interstellar travels, about his ridiculous admiration for a mediocre science fiction writer, and about the delirious arguments of statesmen comparing the number of killed people because of atom bombs with the number because of “conventional” bombs.
This novel is really good. The rhythm captures you and the humour, the irony which is very well used by him, makes you smile. Step by step the pace envelopes you and you do not know if you should smile or… For example, you can imagine Billy clothed like a clown with odds and ends (given by his guards), walking on the moonscape of the destroyed Dresden and mixing the facts of his calamitous life in his sick mind and then, he suddenly remember you that the teen girls who he described nudes a few pages before are dead, burned and quartered… by the Allied attack.
You finish the book. You close the book. You continue thinking
So it goes
Thursday, 7 November 2013
When a person knows and can’t make the others understand, what does he do?
He wanted to speak to his son, but the could think of nothing to say.
I put all of my trust and hope in you. And all I get is blank misunderstanding and idleness and indifference. Of all I put in nothing has remained.
This summer she realized something about her dad she had never known before. He was lonesome and he was an old man.
He talked about how things would have been if he had just managed in a different way.
Each minute was so long that in it there was ample time for contemplation and enquiry.
The hopeless suffering of his people made in him a madness, a wild and evil feeling of destruction.
Your kid shot my baby in the head on purpose.
This is one of the commandments Karl Marx left to us. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”.
The emptiness spread in him. All was gone. Antonapoulos was away; he was not here to remember.
They all have something they hate. And they all have something they love more than eating or sleeping or wine or friendly company. That is why they are always so busy.
Then when he had washed the ashtray and the glass he brought out a pistol from his pocket and put a bullet in his chest.
You know full well that I do not want to leave. You pressed me into saying yes when I was in no fit condition to make a decision.
I wish to remain where I have always been, and you know it.
How long will this rain keep on?
And in the dream there was a peculiar horror in wandering on and on through the crowd and not knowing where to lay down the burden he had carried in his arms so long.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter