Mother Night, by Kurt Vonnegut

No one can write like Vonnegut. And no one can make war seem like such a stupid and pointless idea like Vonnegut. This book doesn’t have the same cleanliness as Slaughterhouse-Five or Cat’s Cradle, but it shares the same underlying frustrations. The main character opens himself up to judgment about his potential war crimes during WWII. He is a challenge to morality and the rules of proper behavior. He has not “picked a side,” so it is up to the reader to determine where he (and any guilt or blame) lies. This responsibility, shifted from author to reader, makes this book the strong piece of literature that it is. You cannot passively read this book, and you will be left feeling uncomfortable no matter how you align yourself (and the main character). Vonnegut forces you to take part in the discomforts of the concept war, even if in the smallest and most fictional way.

Advertisements