Neither does a war bring glory nor does a win in one ensure the moral infallibility of an ideology over a conflicting one. Because, essentially, war justifies countering genocide by perpetrating more genocide. We all know that, right?
But no, we don't. We only think we do.
And that is what Kurt Vonnegut wishes to tell his reader, in a calm, disinterested and emotionless voice in Slaughterhouse-Five
He informs us, in a matter-of-fact tone, that we don't know the first thing about a war and proceeds to explain to us what it really is, by fashioning a narrative as abstruse, disjointed and meaningless as war itself.
I must make a confession despite how morbid this may sound. I have a thing for war books because reading about the two World Wars which helped define our identity as a civilization in the last century is endlessly fascinating. And despite the horrendous nature of crimes against humanity that were committed in both, these two wars held up a mirror in front of us, helped us recognize our own failings as human beings and rectify our mistakes.
Which is why I agree with [a:Tan Twan Eng|591376|Tan Twan Eng|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1350903349p2/591376.jpg]'s views on World War II -"Moments in time when the world is changing bring out the best and the worst in people."
But Vonnegut neither eulogizes war nor seeks to make our hearts bleed for the unimaginable loss and suffering it brings. Instead, he gives the traditional perspective on war a new twist by giving us a prolonged glimpse into the mind of a prisoner of war who was, perhaps, able to survive the brunt of it all, by detaching himself from his own reality and seeking solace in dimensions which only existed inside his head.
Billy Pilgrim's life or the way he viewed his own life in retrospect, appears to be as chaotic and nonsensical as the war he served in.
It is the sheer absurdity of the concept of war that takes center stage in this highly experimental novel - how the unfortunate victims of it carry on with their broken lives with a perverse sense of humor in the face of mindless brutality and utter madness.
I definitely look forward to reading more of Vonnegut now.