Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
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Launched in November, Dell's Kurt Vonnegut reissue program continues with one of the world's great anti-war books. Centering on the infamous firebombing of Dresden, Billy Pilgrim's odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.
others. O’Hare didn’t have any souvenirs. Almost everybody else did. I had a ceremonial Luftwaffe saber, still do. The rabid little American I call Paul Lazzaro in this book had about a quart of diamonds and emeralds and rubies and so on. He had taken these from dead people in the cellars of Dresden. So it goes. An idiotic Englishman, who had lost all his teeth somewhere, had his souvenir in a canvas bag. The bag was resting on my insteps. He would peek into the bag every now and then, and he
canned beef, twelve hundred pounds of canned butter, sixteen hundred pounds of canned cheese, eight hundred pounds of powdered milk, and two tons of orange marmalade. They kept all this in a room without windows. They had ratproofed it by lining it with flattened tin cans. They were adored by the Germans, who thought they were exactly what Englishmen ought to be. They made war look stylish and reasonable, and fun. So the Germans let them have four sheds, though one shed would have held them
crazy. They didn’t think it had anything to do with the war. They were sure Billy was going to pieces because his father had thrown him into the deep end of the Y.M.C.A. swimming pool when he was a little boy, and had then taken him to the rim of the Grand Canyon. The man assigned to the bed next to Billy’s was a former infantry captain named Eliot Rosewater. Rosewater was sick and tired of being drunk all the time. It was Rosewater who introduced Billy to science fiction, and in particular to
bought my first home. My boss there was one of the toughest guys I ever hope to meet. He had been a lieutenant colonel in public relations in Baltimore. While I was in Schenectady he joined the Dutch Reformed Church, which is a very tough church, indeed. He used to ask me sneeringly sometimes why I hadn’t been an officer, as though I’d done something wrong. My wife and I had lost our baby fat. Those were our scrawny years. We had a lot of scrawny veterans and their scrawny wives for friends.
blanket was over his head. It was quiet outside the blanket. “Is my mother gone?” said Billy. “Yes.” Billy peeked out from under his blanket. His fiancée was out there now, sitting on the visitor’s chair. Her name was Valencia Merble. Valencia was the daughter of the owner of the Ilium School of Optometry. She was rich. She was as big as a house because she couldn’t stop eating. She was eating now. She was eating a Three Musketeers Candy Bar. She was wearing tri-focal lenses in harlequin