Friday, 18 February 2011
Literary Blog Hop
If you were going off to war (or some other similarly horrific situation) and could only take one book with you, which literay book would you take and why?
If I was going to war, would I want to read war-books? I'm not sure. I don't think I'd want to be over-reminded of my 'horrific situation', but I don't think I'd want to read about anything else. A book about the social conflicts of a small village community, for example, could well seem bitterly irrelevant and unimportant, when read between skirmishes. At best, it would make you unhealthily homesick.
So I think I would go for a war-book. On my shelves, that leaves Waugh and Vonnegut, primarily. Waugh would point out the frustrations and abusrdities of army life on the every day scale, and it would be good to have someone to laugh with. Vonnegut would laugh, as well, but with a lot less spite, and I could read his heart constantly breaking over the tragedy of humans in war.
So it's Vonnegut. And I have to plump for the obvious answer, Slaughterhouse Five. Becauce if it turns out I don't want to read about war while at war, I can just flick to the time-travelling bits. More importantly, SH-5 is an essay in favour of one idea: that you are the same person when you are at war that you were beforehand and afterwards. You are not just a soldier.