Sunday, February 1, 2015

Book review: Slaughterhouse-Five

I actually "read" the audiobook, narrated by Ethan Hawke. Let me cover the content first, since it's the most important. This was my first exposure to Vonnegut, and I intend to read more based solely on this exposure. The story has some really interesting sci-fi elements but keeps the focus on the horrors Vonnegut experienced during World War II. The wordsmithing is impressive. On more than one occasion I found myself saying "that was terribly and beautifully said." The four-star review is a reflection of 4.5 star content.

The audiobook, however, was less appealing. Ethan Hawke's narration, which a lot of people thought was very well done in a whispery breath, I found pretty annoying. Having to turn the volume up because the narrator is trying to be conspiratorial is a bad job in two parts -- narrator and production. Hawke's vocal variance range left something to be desired as well. At least twice I had to wait until the end of a conversation to figure out which characters had actually said what. Combine these with the always ridiculous SUDDEN OMINOUS MUSICAL CHORDS played at the most random and jarring times, and the recording is one of the least pleasant I've listened to recently.

With this said, I strongly recommend the book. I do not recommend the recording narrated by Ethan Hawke. The book is short enough to read. Do yourself a favor and do so. :)

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