by: Kurt Vonnegut Jr
In continuing my tradition of being completely biased towards all things Vonnegut, I have to give Mother Night an A+ for so many reasons.
First, it took me forever to read this book completely, seriously I started it my senior year of high school and now I’m technically classified as a senior at college so that’s some age disparity ain’t it? When I did pick this book up again I read it in about two days, which is remarkable, and a reason I love Vonnegut’s work. All of his novels, once you get into them, just sort of breeze along keeping you entertained in the process. It’s a refreshing take from say Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, which I’m only two chapters into and already feel overwhelmed.
Of course the other reason is Vonnegut’s work itself. Mother Night, read completely differently than any other work by Vonnegut that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Narrated by the infamous Howard Campbell Jr. the work follows the memoirs of a playwright and Nazi propagandist who is awaiting trials for his war crimes in an Israeli prison. It’s a pretty wild ride. Campbell himself also appears briefly in Slaughterhouse Five, so there’s that added touch of reference that makes any fan all giddy inside.
What’s different about the writing style is the surprising lack of Vonnegut’s own voice in the matter. In fact, Vonnegut, who is notorious for adding his own voice throughout his works, doesn’t really even appear at all aside from the collector or editor of these works in the very beginning of the work. That one added touch of brilliance really makes Campbell’s character feel less like a section of Vonnegut’s identity but a real flesh-and-blood human being. It’s an addicting read from start to finish, one that plays out perfectly, and why shouldn’t it given that Vonnegut is one of the master’s of story-telling.
If you’re wondering if I’d recommend this? Yes, like all Vonnegut works, I recommend this one with all my heart. Go young ones, read.