Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Mother Night is the second Vonnegut book that i've read (the other being Slaughterhouse-Five). i think that i enjoyed Mother Night better... perhaps because it took reading SH5 to get used to Kurt Vonnegut's style. i think i hated that style at first... now i am thrilled by it. craving more.
Mother Night is the story of an American in Germany who serves as an accidental spy on the Nazi regime. but the confessions of Howard W. Campbell Jr. are of a man who has lost all emotion and all knowledge of who he really is or was... or will ever be. he is a man who has trained himself to act. to perform. with the war in the world's rear view mirror, Campbell because a quasi-celebrity of Marxist and Nazi's who desire to bring change to the nation.
Elements of his past come back to him which leads to him being placed on trial in Israel - for war crimes against humanity.
What is the truth of who Campbell is? does he even really desire to know? or is he/was he just a pawn in the game of world wide war?
the most poignant commentary on life and civility comes close to the end when Vonnegut's Campbell speaks of evil with nemesis Bernard O'Hare.
'evil is when one finds good reasons to hate without reservation, to imagine God Almighty hates with you, too.'
hate without limit. hate with God on its side. where man finds ugliness so attractive.
perhaps more poignant is mankind with no hope. with no recollection of who he is. war is hell. it seems to strip away any man's true soul.
Mother Night is Vonnegut's commentary of such life.
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