"Mother Night" by Kurt Vonnegut

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Mustang, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. Mustang
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    Mustang Gold Member

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    I've read a lot of books by Kurt Vonnegut over the years. By my account, it's been over a dozen. I've read his satirical novels, his short story compilations (which were originally written for magazines and later put together as compilations. They're written in a completely different and accessible style.), his essays, and his nonfiction commentary and public speeches.

    In my opinion, "Mother Night" is probably the most cohesive book I've read by Vonnegut. I say that because Vonnegut's satirical novels can veer from one setting to another and from one storyline to another a little too frequently They're still entertaining, of course. But in my opinion, doing so can take a toll on an overarching theme by drawing on so many disparate elements that it too often serves as a distraction. He even had a habit of introducing new characters at virtually any point in a story -- right up until the very end.

    This particular story takes place in 1961 when Howard W. Campbell, an American, is arrested for Nazi war crimes committed during WWII and subsequently taken to Israel to stand trial. (I'm not giving away too much here, I promise, since you learn this at the very beginning of the book).

    His parents had moved to Germany many years prior to WWII when Howard was a child so his father could work for an American corporation doing business there. Howard grew up speaking German and decided to stay there even after his parents went back to America. He eventually married a German woman, and ultimately went to work for the Nazis as a propagandist during WWII.

    There are several interesting and surprising twists (as is common for Vonnegut) that will keep the story from being too predictable. Vonnegut's satire, irony and black humor are exceptionally well done in Mother Night.

    It's unquestionably one of his best books.

    Book originally published in 1961. 288 pages.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
  2. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    hes still alive? wow...
     
  3. theDoctorisIn
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    theDoctorisIn Senior Mod Staff Member Senior USMB Moderator

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    Alas, he died in 2007.

    Mother Night was published in 1961.
     
  4. Mustang
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    Mustang Gold Member

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    Yeah, he fell down a flight of stairs.

    Was I wrong in assuming that any books could be reviewed as opposed to only new books?

    Alas, I probably should have included the date the book was published in order to avoid any confusion. It was 1961, just like the arrest date of the protagonist.
     
  5. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    I'd like to take this opportunity to throw in a plug for The Sirens of Titan.
     

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