Alright, so I FINALLY read Slaughterhouse Five. (Insert fellow bookies’ gasps here.)
It was one of those books that I knew I would eventually read but it kept getting bumped further and further down my ‘to-read’ list by exciting new fiction. The book I read before this one (In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware- bit of a thriller, fun read) mentioned Slaughterhouse Five in it and I made the decision to finally bite the bullet and friggin’ read it already.
Here’s what I knew about this book before cracking the spine: Funny… Maybe about war? Seriously.
I’m a firm believer in books coming into your life at the right time for specific reasons. This was absolutely one of them. I recently lost my Nan, who was always a huge part of my life and have been struggling with the usual: Sadness, confusion, shock, anger, questioning the meaning of life, etc, etc, etc.
TINY SPOILER ALERT: What stood out to me from this book was Tralfamadore, the planet which the main character thinks he was abducted to, and the thoughts that the aliens (or Tralfamadorians) had about life and death. Here’s what stuck with me:
“The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moment, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just the way we can look at a sketch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.
When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is ‘So it goes.'”
This has been floating around my head since I read it and I’ve sent it to my family members who are also having a hard time with Nan’s passing. What a beautiful concept though, eh? How lucky are we to have these memories that we can go back to whenever we want? It’s much easier to focus on rather than the crappy few weeks we’ve experienced.
If you haven’t already read it, I highly suggest doing so. There are little beautiful nuggets like the one above sprinkled throughout the entire novel and you’ll find yourself laughing out loud then probably realizing what you’re laughing at is horrible and that you absolutely should NOT be laughing. My favorite kind of humour. Dark.
Next up: I Hate The Internet, a useful novel against men, money and the filth of Instagram by Jarett Kobek… Will report back soon.
The Mountain Story