It's rare to find a "sci-fi" book that doesn't seem at least a little campy 40 years after it has been written, but Vonnegut does a fantastic job of making the imaginative parts of the book toned-down enough to be believable.
Ethan Hawke does a great job of narrating as well.
Although I admire Ethan Hawke's enthusiasm in the role of narrator, I was constantly distracted by his monotone intonation. Also, the beat or meter of his narration:
It seemed off at times
Now that ain't no crime,
But was especially bad when he tried to rhyme..
Had to do it.
Probably not. Love him in Gattaca though.
This is a modern classic. Reading Vonnegut again reminds me of his mastery of word choice and irony to make his point. A turning point in anti-war literature for my generation. Wonderful. But, this narration almost derails the book. Who told Ethan Hawke that it would be best to whisper the entire text? I have heard Vonnegut read portions of the book and he performed in a conversational voice. The narration detracted from the lyrical style of the author. A real shame for the next generation of Vonnegut readers.
This ranks right up there next to Catcher in the Rye as one of the classic, must-read, books I have read to round out my literary education that I simply do not see the value of. I understand Vonnegut may have been an important eyewitness to history, I just don't know why quasi science-fiction is the proper place for anything credible. Perhaps I should get cliff notes or spark notes to help me understand. But I question why something as important as a wartime holocaust should be ensconced in something so mysterious. Yes, it is true, war makes no sense. Call me a hick, a philistine or a drudge; I just don't see what is great about a book that requires someone to explain its meaning to readers. Maybe one man's literature is another man's nonsense; maybe the king has no clothes. I suspect some motive beyond literary content motivated this books publication. It wouldn't be the first.
Here is an example of the brilliance..
Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves.
Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: “if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?”
This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.”
Written by Vonnegut? Absolutely not. Read by Ethan Hawke? Absolutely.
Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle's "The Mote in God's Eye".
Ethan Hawke is a masterful reader. He is capable of differentiating between the various tones, voices & narratives without skipping a beat, and his tone is often conversational or intimate rather than the flat, often-affectless pronouncements given by other readers.
All of them.
This book is tiresome, tedious and convinced of a cleverness and depth which it simply does not possess. Some classics are classics for reasons immediately discernible, some require thought and analysis to reveal the reasons for their place in the canon of literature, but others seem to be classics simply because someone at one point decided to declare them such and subsequent readers, for fear of being mocked for "not getting it", just play along and claim to see the value in the work. This book is one of the latter and is little more than empty literary calories.
I liked the commentary at the end.
Billy Pilgrim. He was out of his mind, which is usually entertaining.
He has a very relaxing voice
So it goes
This is the first book that I have listened to with Audible and with any other "books-on-tape" program. I really liked it. Hopefully I can listen to many more.
I wouldn't make that comparison. Some stories lend themselves better to an audio version than others. This one worked well as an audiobook.
Billy Pilgrim, of course. The story is told through his eyes.
Uniquely delivered - soft whispering voice - well dramatized the particular types of scenes depicted in the story.
Stop listening to other people's opinions and form one of your own. That's sound advice, or not. It all depends on how literal you take it.
This book is way better than I remember it being and a thousand times better than the movie. Ethan Hawk does an awesome job as reader and sets the mood of this thing so well with just his tone. Well worth the purchase. I actually listened to it twice in a row to truly get a good feel for the flow of the story.
I love to listen to American books. Following the plot, keeping track of personal developments and intrigues while walking two miles to work
I wonder if I ever had read the book till the end. I probably would have gone lost on Tralfamadore. Ethan Hawke pulled me through with his evocative approach. As if he was wondering, just like me, what Kurt Vonnegut, wanted to tell with his disruptive story.