Wow. I've never read a book like this before. I want to go back to the beginning and read it again right away. I might scan the print version a little, as I listened to the audio book narrated by Ethan Hawke.
Incidentally, Kurt Vonnegut shows up at the end and talks a little about his experience in Dresden, and who the "real" Billy Pilgrim was. I "passively accepted" the entire book right up until that point, when I burst into tears. Vonnegut chuckles softly over his experience in Dresden. What can you do but laugh in the face of absurdity. After he describes the death of the "real" Billy Pilgrim, I quietly mouthed "So it goes." He did not say it, but it fit.
Re-read finished 3 weeks later:
Well, that's a new book on my top 10. Goodbye Count of Monte Cristo, your slot has been forfeited! I still love you.
Just came across this quote again today and all of a sudden it all made sense. Of *course* Slaughterhouse-Five is the perfect Tralfamadorian novel, but it still didn't really hit me until I read this line again:
"There isn’t any particular relationship between the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time."
Makes me want to read it again.
The bookstore I work at got these really awesome t-shirts in the other day, which I will shamelessly plug here, because the artist is a really great guy:
I was pawing through our new product arrivals, smelling soaps and organizing scarves (my bookstore is really awesome and sells these things), when I held up that Slaughterhouse-Five shirt and squealed with glee and did a little circle dance and said "OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH THIS SHIRT MUST BE MINE." All of my coworkers asked what book it was from, because it is pretty obscure after all, and I briefly explained. None of them had read it, and I promptly extolled its virtues. The shirt makes me look a little sad all the time - I mean it's a grave after all - but I take it as an opportunity to remember the things that I love about life, and how they are all constantly happening and they have never passed.
This is seriously one of the most amazing books of my life, and I am still amazed by it. It's going in my "greatest hits" box, to read whenever I need comfort.