my favourite of the Vonnegut novels, has edged slightly down from the 5/5 I gave it in December, rereading it just a few hours ago. I read this first at age, what, 17? finding it eminently more fast-paced than Slaughterhouse Five or Cat's Cradle (the other two really good vonnegut books). however, even at age 19 I was in class a little skeptical of the huge Vonnegut-fan club, and I continue to be the 4/5 club rather than the 5/5 club; it's great gallows humour; it's eccentric, zany, and more than many novels illustrates the black and white excesses and modd swings of totalitarianism, but the work is also limited: we take just, more, out of Waugh, Forster, Woolf, even Austen; of the 1950s novelists, Updike, Nabokov, possibly Kerouac all just have more, dignity
, so to speak, communicating a more adult and broadly liberal viewpoint than the extreme extreme cleverness of Vonnegut.
faced with the "burning museum" problem of saving four Vonnegut books-- player piano, slaughter house 5, cat's cradle and mother night or the best work by Waugh or Nabokov, it would be a tough choice, but I think I would save Bridey or Lolita. on the other hand, clearly the four vonnegut books together are worth 'scoop' or 'ada' (Nabokov fans, do please lay off the hate).
actually the commentary on this book by some of the top reviewers is interesting-- quite a few agree this is the best of vonnegut; so there is a critical weight of mass behind this opinion. and thousands upon thousands of vonnegut college students, of course, can't be totally wrong