Tuesday, June 19, 2007

So It Goes

I finished "Slaughterhouse 5" last night, which means that I've read all the books for the next El Grupo with nearly a month to spare. So this is what it would have felt like in school if I'd done all my homework and revision when it was assigned rather than at the last minute. I would have been an insufferably smug little twerp, or perhaps more accurately an even more insufferably smug little twerp.

Rereading the book after a quarter of a century, I was struck by how concise it was, exactly the sensation I had last year during a decades overdue second canter through Brideshead Revisited. I note that both are on Time's 100 best English-language novels list. Size isn't everything, as I've often consoled myself.

A few stray remarks follow (I am sworn to keep my profound observational powder dry until July):
  • Billy Pilgrim adrift in time, c.f Chrono-Displacement Disorder in "The Time Traveller's Wife" and Martin Amis' "Time's Arrow".
  • Vonnegut's folksy patter misdirects you from the sophistication of the arrangement of the piece, c.f. the structure of that other great WW2 book "Catch 22" which tells the same story again and again.
  • Valencia's car has a "Reagan for President" sticker on the bumper. In a book published in the 60s! Well I never. I know I could check this out in Wikipedia in a heart beat but I can't be bothered.
  • "The Destruction of Dresden" by David Irving gets name checked. Yes, THE David Irving.

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