Vonnegut is a master of wit, and of the best authors to have ever existed. There are many aspects of his style that are singular, but what fascinates me the most is his perfect timing. While most writers know what to say, he knows when to say it.
Through his minimalistic prose, introduction of unforgettable characters and events imbued by the trademark Vonnegutesque bleakness, nihilistic pessimism with the occasional glimpse of hope and dark humour, he’s captured the woes of war, love, and subsequent despair of the two in the roller-coaster of emotions that is Mother Night.
The story is told as the confessions of Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a Nazi war criminal, or so he was told. As the mockery of something as serious as Nazi propaganda plays out, the lines are blurred, and the only thing made abundantly clear —much as it is often a recurring theme in Vonnegut’s books— is that WWII was a fucking bonkers era in history.
Mother Night is a book to read in one sitting*. It is short and simple, but will challenge the reader, change the way one views the dichotomy of good and evil, and the helplessness of man. It is a book that will stay with you forever.
5/5 for sure.
*I didn’t read it in one sitting, personal reasons, although I wish I had.