Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut

An excellent exploration of the life of a supposed Nazi propagandist who might really be an American spy years after the war. Neo-nazis love him, Russians befriend him and American countrymen despise him, all of whom it seems are trying to get him to or away from a war crimes tribunal.
This is one of Vonnegut’s best and given that I’ve read about 8 of his other books; I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it. In classic Vonnegut style we read about the horrors of war and witness absurd people in mundane situations or mundane people in absurd situations. The book is worthwhile, but I especially enjoyed the final fifth.
Some lines I enjoyed, paraphrased:
“You might as well look for diamond rings in gutters if you are looking for justice and fairness in this world.”
Person 1: This day will go down in history.
Person 2: Every day goes down in history.
“Corpse carries to the guardhouse” – a call that would go out in the concentration camps. Even more chilling in spoken German (this was an audiobook).
The other parts that stuck with me were the brief discussion on how chemicals influence our decisions (pretty good for 1966) and how the hard core racists aren’t crazy, just that some of gears have been worn down in their head. They still function, but not as they should.
Go read it!


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