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  • Slaughterhouse-Five

  • By: Kurt Vonnegut
  • Narrated by: James Franco
  • Length: 5 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (3,288 ratings)

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Slaughterhouse-Five cover art

Slaughterhouse-Five

By: Kurt Vonnegut
Narrated by: James Franco
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Summary

Slaughterhouse-Five is the now famous parable of Billy Pilgrim, a World War II veteran and POW who has, in the later stage of his life, become "unstuck in time" and who experiences at will (or unwillingly) all known events of his chronology out of order and sometimes simultaneously.

Traumatized by the bombing of Dresden at the time he had been imprisoned, Pilgrim drifts through all events and history, sometimes deeply implicated, sometimes a witness. He is surrounded by Vonnegut's usual large cast of continuing characters (notably here the hack science fiction writer Kilgore Trout and the alien Tralfamadorians, who oversee his life and remind him constantly that there is no causation, no order, no motive to existence). The "unstuck" nature of Pilgrim's experience may constitute an early novelistic use of what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder; then again, Pilgrim's aliens may be as "real" as Dresden is real to him.

Struggling to find some purpose, order, or meaning to his existence and humanity's, Pilgrim meets the beauteous and mysterious Montana Wildhack (certainly the author's best character name), has a child with her, and drifts on some supernal plane, finally, in which Kilgore Trout, the Tralfamadorians, Montana Wildhack, and the ruins of Dresden do not merge but rather disperse through all planes of existence.

Slaughterhouse-Five was hugely successful, brought Vonnegut an enormous audience, was a finalist for the National Book Award and a best seller, and remains four decades later as timeless and shattering a war fiction as Catch-22, with which it stands as the two signal novels of their riotous and furious decade.

©1969 Kurt Vonnegut (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"James Franco is an inspired choice as narrator for this anti-war classic. While still young, he still manages to sound world-weary.... Franco has fun with the offbeat characters and Vonnegut's quirky text but keeps the overall tone thoughtful.... Franco's reading gives the 1960s classic a freshness that will appeal to both new listeners and Vonnegut's many fans." ( AudioFile)

What listeners say about Slaughterhouse-Five

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing reread....

I had read Slaughterhouse 5 years ago as a young adult engaging with a Global using world. This time I listened to learn how Vonnegut had narrated stories and insights concerning the massive Dresden bombings that took place in WW2. I found that Insights regarding post-traumatic stress disorder were blown off course by creating a sci-fi world with which the lead protagonist interacted... the omni-present refrain "so it goes" added to my irritation.

Can't say I'd recommend this - its somewhat dated and outclassed by a range of other anti-war insights.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Thought Provoking.

A very thought-provoking anti-war novel that revolves around an ex-POW-turned-novelist trying to recapture the horror and futility of the Dresden bombing during WWII through the eyes of his protagonist, Billy Pilgrim. Beautifully performed in his trade-mark deadpan voice by James Franco. A novel like this deserves a second read for it all to fully sink in.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Superbly read.

One of those books that creeps under your skin and stays with you. Superbly read by James Franco.

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Now for something completely different…

I confess I had to listen to it twice straight over just to decide if it was clever or utter rubbish- it’s actually a real conundrum with plot twists that are left to the reader to ponder on…. Most definitely worth a credit :-)

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    5 out of 5 stars

Like an advance lit class.

I will never have a bad thing to say about Vonnegut’s stories except for that there are never going to be any new ones. That said, Franco’s reading lacks the energy or effort a story like this needs, so it winds up giving me flash backs to college literature classes where a lovable but slightly boring student reads someone else’s work with the liveliness of a tired stoner. Which, I don’t know, would be great in other circumstances but kind of killed the mood for this story.

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Monumentally sad and enjoyable

I'm so glad that I decided to read this book. The tone is so mournful and the reading made this only more pronounced. I don't know much about the bombing of Dresden but it made an impact on me still. The language was wonderful and there were some great lines that really stick with you.

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pretty good

I enjoyed it and it inspired a lot of ideas for my own writing. James Franco is fine, nothing special but does it justice

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Worth!

James Franco did really great, so impressed. Story is good and moves at a nice pace. Well worth the credit!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Incredible!

James Franco really brought Billy Pilgrim and his insane experiences to life...such an enjoyable story!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Superb

Listen to it if you've never read it. I found it strangely interesting and entertaining. And a good narration.

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