This book combines all the guilty pleasures of a Kilgore Trout novel with the sort of thoughtfulness that you would expect from someone who survived the firebombing of Dresden. Even at a distance of sixty years, it is just impossible for the mind really to comprehend the deaths of 130,000 people in a raid that seems to have served no military purpose whatsoever.
Vonnegut's quasi-autobiographical account of the war focuses on the fictional Billy Pilgrim, who survives the firebombing of Dresden but can never quite get it out of his mind in later years. Billy has the peculiar gift of becoming "unstuck in time" -- being able to close his eyes and experience any of the moments of his life in any order -- which allows Vonnegut to juxtapose Billy's war experiences with his earlier and later experiences (including his kidnapping by aliens from the planet Tralfamedore). Many people die throughout the book, as they do in real life, and Vonnegut asks the basic question, "Does it matter?"
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