{Review} Mother Night – Kurt Vonnegut

table mother_night.large

I picked up Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut for The Good Book Club’s first discussion. BIG thank you to them for picking this book! I don’t know that I would have read it otherwise and I loved it! The story so captivating you can’t put it down and the characters are so real that you forget you’re reading fiction.

Mother Night is the autobiography of Howard W Campbell, Jr, a Nazi war criminal writing his story from his cell in Israel. Howard was the English speaking propagandist for the Nazis during WWII. However, Howard claims he didn’t believe the things he was saying. He claims to have been an American spy. But can someone really be both? Can you spread the message he did and encourage the terrible things as he so passionately pretended to and still claim to not believe in the cause? Can you be two very different minds?

Vonnegut writes in the introduction that “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be”. This is one of my favorite literary quotes. The book contained so many great quotes that I’ll have to take some time to pick out my favorites before the discussion tonight.

The story is dark, humorous, touching and gut-wrenching. The idea that those who encourage and spread hate are just as guilty of the deaths this brings as those who hold the guns is so important that I’m baffled that I wasn’t required to read this in one of my classes in either high school or college.

I’m very, very highly recommending this book. I’m even making Shane give it  try. I’m looking forward to adding more Vonnegut to my to-read list!

* This also counts towards my 101 Books Challenge, and is my M book for the A-Z Book Challenge.

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8 Responses

  1. I miss reading 😦

  2. I miss reading for pleasure. I’ll definitely have to read this whenever I get the chance. 🙂

  3. I’m glad you liked it. I struggled with it. I just couldn’t get into it and it dragged on forever for me. I like a lot of Vonnegut’s books (love Galapagos) but this one was just not my thing.

    • I think it’s one of those books you have to be in the mood for. When I first started reading it I loved it, read the first half, and then didn’t pick it up to finish it for a few days. However, I just finished Hunger Games (I’ll post the review tomorrow) and I read it all in one sitting 🙂

  4. Great discussion last night Tara! Excellent review. I had a hard time cornering my thoughts on this one without rambling. There was a lot to cover!
    Can’t wait for the next one. Should be great for October.

    • The discussion was a blast! I think the smaller group was good for a first book. I’m really excited for the next one!

  5. […] Posted on October 20, 2009 by taraSG In honor of finishing up Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut this week, I’m featured a tattoo inspired by his novel, Cat’s Cradle. cinderstar37 […]

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