Books

Book Review: The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

I will come out straight away: I’m partial with Vonnegut. I love his work. It’s profound, surprising, imaginative, and funny. Not ha haa funny, but ha funny. If you think ha haa is better than ha, think again. Ha comes with thought and second sight, and ha haa just releases tension created before the laughter.

I would love to say The Sirens of Titan was another one of Vonnegut’s masterpieces, but it wasn’t. The first part of the book was intriguing and had so much potential, but then everything turned tired and short as if he couldn’t wait to be done with it. I’m disappointed that the book left me only with a few ideas and profound sentences to play around. Vonnegut could have taken his ideas about free will, religion, war, and the meaning of life so much farther. I think he tried too much and ended up doing too little.

That said, I still enjoyed the book because of his unique voice. He is a spot on with his satire and has always something to say with his books. The Sirens of Titan wasn’t any different. It had a clear message and something he wanted to put out there or at least get off his chest and be done with it.

So, do we have free will? Do I act according to my own needs or am I guided because of some great plan (divine or not and in The Sirens of Titan’s case not)? If there is a great plan, I’m disappointed with it. You only have to look around to see it isn’t working or acknowledge that the end is dark and twisted. If this our obsession with money, power, and violence is part of it, leave me out. Then again, if we have free will, we are doing hilarious things with it, wasting it on stupidity and harm. I guess that is what Vonnegut tries to tell us with all his books that humans are peculiar and don’t know what is good for them.

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