Regular price: $19.95

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's 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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,225
  • 4 Stars
    2,404
  • 3 Stars
    1,062
  • 2 Stars
    304
  • 1 Stars
    156

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,129
  • 4 Stars
    1,993
  • 3 Stars
    943
  • 2 Stars
    294
  • 1 Stars
    176

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4,064
  • 4 Stars
    1,923
  • 3 Stars
    1,017
  • 2 Stars
    336
  • 1 Stars
    177
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 01-22-17

Everything is nothing, with a twist.

I've read Slaughterhouse-Five several times and I'm still not sure I know exactly how Vonnegut pulls it off. It is primarily a postmodern, anti-war novel. It is an absurd look at war, memory, time, and humanity, but it is also gentle. Its prose emotionally feels (go ahead, pet the emotion) like the tug of the tides, the heaviness of sleep, the seduction of alcohol, the dizziness of love. His prose is simple, but beautiful.

Obviously, part of the brilliance of this novel is born from the reality that Vonnegut is largely playing the notes of his own song (obviously, obscured by an unreliable narrator, time that is unstuck, and generous kidnapping aliens). It is the song of someone who has seen horrible, horrible things but still wants to dance and smile (so a Totentanz?).

Emperor, your sword won't help you out
Sceptre and crown are worthless here
I've taken you by the hand
For you must come to my dance

I had to work very much and very hard
The sweat was running down my skin
I'd like to escape death nonetheless
But here I won't have any luck

It is essentially art pulled out of the tension between despair and hope, grief and celebration, love and death. It is a classic not because it has a message about war, but because it has a message about life. Vonnegut aimed at war and hit everything.

67 of 73 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

So it goes...and I didn't want it to end

I have read this book three times and listened to Ethan Hawke read on CD twice.

James Franco adds an incredible voice to this classic anti-war novel with its disjointed chronology. He is deadpan and on the mark, giving the satire room to breathe.

As for the novel, I was forced to read it in high school and reluctantly fell in love the shambling WWII vet Billy Pilgrim.

He flops between time periods like an awkward flamingo, makes a living as a bored optometrist, makes love to his giant of a wife and infuriates his daughter with tales of alien abduction. And what middle-ager wouldn't want to be abducted if his co-abductee were a bosomy porn star?

There's also an extraterrestrial zoo.

Vonnegut has written a masterpiece.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Don't Quit Your Daytime Job, James

Vonnegut is one of a kind, and if you like that kind, Slaughterhouse Five is not to be missed. However, the same cannot be said about this audiobook. I usually like James Franco as an actor, but I was greatly disappointed with his narration of this book. There was nothing at all remarkable about his voice. He mumbled some of the time, and he sounded bored and listless all of the time. He seemed to be phoning it in.

64 of 75 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JL
  • 12-01-15

Good book, meh narrator

Although I liked the book, I wasn't a fan of James Franco's reading of it. His mumbling and flat affect made the book made the book feel a bit tedious.

57 of 67 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Read it again.

Would you listen to Slaughterhouse-Five again? Why?

I read this book perhaps 30 years ago. I'm delighted to be reintroduced. A great author and great story. Even if depressing.

What did you like best about this story?

The dry wit.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me laugh and cry.

Any additional comments?

This book is read very well. The actor gets the subtlety of the book.
If you read this book in high school, read it again and you'll appreciate it even more.

23 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Important Post-War Novel

If you could sum up Slaughterhouse-Five in three words, what would they be?

psychedelic, surreal, chaotic

What did you like best about this story?

Billy's time travel back and forth and beyond and how Vonnegut made the transitions. The refrain "and so it goes" every time someone died was hilarious.

Which scene was your favorite?

This is hard to say, because I love them all. The firebombing of Dresden and its aftermath stood out.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

And So It Goes.

Any additional comments?

The novel is fresh, modern, non-linear. Vonnegut pushed the form. It requires focus to listen to. Enjoy the ride. Do not try to make sense of it. Enjoy. "And so it goes."

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • Halifax, NS, Canada
  • 01-28-17

Why James Franco exists

Until I listened to this audiobook, I never understood the reason for James Franco's existence. What does he do? What is his role in the universe?

Now I know. He was put on this earth to read Kurt Vonnegut out loud. He's awesome at it. Suddenly one of the great questions of our time is answered.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

'That was I. That was me.'

It's probably been about a decade since I've visited Slaughterhouse-Five and yet, upon recently listening to Vonnegut's beloved novel, it was as if I was 'unstuck in time,' traveling back to some version of myself – a pimply, lanky teenager – who was in complete awe of Vonnegut's unique voice and blown away by the following line: 'That was I. That was me. That was the author of this book.' It's a line that still makes me dizzy; as if Vonnegut himself was somehow trapped in the book. And it's in finding this tone that Franco's narration succeeds. Yes, he deftly voices German and English soldiers with cold, comical detachment and gives the alien race of Tralfamadorians a nasally omnipresence, but it's in his delivery of Vonnegut's short, declarative sentences – the beaten quality of 'so it goes' – that I was reminded that this is a book about a soldier who, just like Vonnegut, cannot escape his memories of war.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • BDHumbert
  • Fort Pierce, FL, United States
  • 06-13-17

So glad

I finally got to this. A great listen to an American classic. On of those books that will stay in my library and get revisited often

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not well read

James Franco did a terrible job. Practically monotone. Audible could've gotten anybody to better than this.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • 06-05-17

Did I Enjoy it or Experience it?

"Unputdownable", "unmissable", "unreadable" we've seen them all in amongst the many reviews that populate sites like Audible and Amazon. Well how about "unreviewable"? That's pretty much how I'm finding Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five".

Audible have it in the Fiction-Humour section. There is some really black humour in there but particularly in this form with James Franco's laconic drawl it really isn't going to have you searching for the LOL icon. It's often described as sc-fi but although yes there is a race of aliens so it can reasonably have that tag attached to it I wouldn't call it that either. It's also a book about war and here is where, if anywhere, I would settle. After all it was inspired by the author's real experience of World war II and in particular the Dresden bombing. Even if I settle on that though it isn't going to satisfy anyone who wants a detailed account of the awful events that took place there.

My take on it, which is just one of many possible conclusions, is that this is a story of a confused mind left traumatised by life and particularly the sheer inhumanity of the war. It jumps around time but there are clear signposted images of how Bill Pilgrim's personal narrative came about. I don't think the aliens in Vonnegut's story are supposed to be real, they are figments of Pilgrim's tortured imagination designed to reconcile him to what has happened to him. A Three Musketeers candy wrapper, some sci-fi books he adores and the similarities to those stories and so on are cleverly placed.

The result of his time displacement though is that the story is deliberately disjointed and at times the links aren't obvious or indeed even there. As a representation of a troubled mind I think it's excellent and would recommend the book on that basis. Whether that is actually enjoyable though will very much be a matter of taste. I'd say give it a go because it is very, very clever but be prepared that it might not meet your personal taste. I'm still not convinced as to whether I enjoyed it or simply experienced it. The fact that I'm struggling with it in so many ways is as good a reason to recommend it as any though if you want a reading challenge.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew Dawkins
  • 01-22-17

A brilliant listen

A fantastic novel read in a touchingly wry way by James Franco. I highly recommend giving it a listen.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • jitesh
  • 04-16-16

story wasn't slaughtered

6 hours of bizarre stories. Well worth a listen made especially pleasing by James Franco.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jack
  • 04-18-16

loved it

I totally loved it. book is great and Franco is class as per usual. Hopefully he does more.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • steven
  • 03-09-16

Worth every penny

A great book strangely haunting yet amusing in places and Franco's performance is very soothing a mix of dryness and charm

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • S. Lancaster
  • 04-16-17

As astute and relevant today as it was in 1968.

Vividly read, beautifully written. The madness of war is lampooned with pity and wild imagination.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dean
  • 04-11-17

A must for anyone.

Genuinely an amazing peice of work. Listened to it one sitting and only felt disappointed that it had to end so soon. So it goes.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wras
  • 04-03-17

trapped in the amber of this moment.


A book about war and the inhumanity of being human, a timeless time perspective of all the things that keep on repeating the same mistakes with horrible regularity and yet we choose to accept as new phenomena of our very particular time, were we commit very old crimes “So It Goes”.

A sad beautiful tale that is not afraid to expose the ugliest of truth, a desperate attempt at creating a change in a world that is stuck in the amber of its own creation constant war to prove we were right once, or we can sell over there in freedom because we won the war and “So It Goes”.

A classic that is rebellious and confrontative, with anarchic, nihilistic thoughts, to liberate us from complacency and acceptance of the of the status quo, “So It Goes”.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Johannes
  • 12-06-16

Excellent delivery of a timeless classic

I don't need to say much about the novel itself. Brilliant, witty, dark at times. James Franco's performance is just deadpan enough to fit Vonnegut's style. Highly recommended!

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Toadjuggler
  • 08-18-16

One of the best novels ever written.

I don't have the words to explain why this book should be read by everyone so I'll just say that it is probably the best novel about WW2 and is definitely one of the best dozen novels of the 20th Century. If you haven't read it or listened to it then this is a very good performance, it has the calm but mad tone that the books has, the same sense of fatalism that runs through the text. Do listen to it and then listen to it again, just brilliant.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cyndi
  • 05-19-16

Excellent detail and black humour

I thought James Franco's voice and readiig style suited this book perfectly. An interesting and engaging alternative treatment to the topic of war , especially those who survive it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 11-26-17

Great original theme and style

loved it especially the alternate title The Children's Crusade and the dedication to Mary O'Hare.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • chris
  • 10-18-17

Good to fall asleep to

James Franco tends to talk in a lazy monotone, which may present a challenge if you are planning to stay awake during this.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 10-08-17

Really good!

I really enjoyed listening to this audio book, would recommend to a friend and and family members

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lyndon
  • 05-21-17

so it goes

There are affections that I want to remember as they were simply stunning. So it goes

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maria
  • 05-03-17

Definitely not a science fiction

I was throughly impressed with Slaughterhouse-Five and enjoyed it immensely. It is now in the list my most favourite books.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-01-18

Always read the classics.

Slaughterhouse Five has always been lauded as a classic of 1960’s writing, and yet I’d never gotten around to reading it. I have now ... and it IS indeed a classic. Billy Pilgrim is a hero, a laconic time-traveller, an unreliable narrator, but a man to be listened to. I’m very glad I got to this book before I die ... and so it goes.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful