First Lines: Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five tells the tale of how Billy Pilgrim came to be in Dresden when it was fire bombed off the face of the earth in World War II, and how he became unstuck in time afterwards. That part includes Flying Saucers and the planet Tralfamadore.

Slaughterhouse-Five is a bit of an odd book. It has no traditional narrative structure, as it jumps to and fro in the manner of the planet Tralfamadore. Which is to say, Billy Pilgrim has become unstuck in time, so he experiences the events of his life in random order, including his own birth and his own death. While I’m usually not the biggest fan of such gimmicks, this book worked for me from start to finish.

Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty Dance with Death, by Kurt Vonnegut, A Fourth-Generation German-American Low Living in Easy Circumstances on Cape Cod [and Smoking Too Much], Who, as an American Infantry Scout Hors de Combat, as a Prisoner of War, Witnessed the Fire Bombing of Dresden, Germany, “The Florence of the Elbe,” a Long Time Ago, and Survived to Tell the Tale. This is a Novel Somewhat in the Telegraphic Schizophrenic Manner of Tales of the Planet Tralfamadore, Where the Flying Saucers Come From. Peace.
First Line
All this happened, more or less.