Vonnegut plays with shades of gray throughout this novel. Roughly it’s about an American spy who during WWII was an excellent propaganda machine for Germany. There’s excellent tension within the character of Campbell, and throughout the novel I found myself torn between if he was guilty or innocent. All of the characters exist in gray, and for the main supporting characters their good and/or evil title is rather ambiguous. There are a few haunting phrases that pop up multiple times, usually in German, that tie the story together beautifully. Vonnegut’s language is, as usual, gripping and very difficult to put down, even after you’ve finished. On top of that the ideas he shoves in your head are hard to let go of. If someone’s pretending to be evil for a good cause, how much better is that than just being evil? Especially if they have the same exact negative effects?
The only other Vonnegut novel I would put immediately above this one is Cat’s Cradle.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to rethink the definitions of good and evil, in disjunction and conjunction.
Nibble: “It was typical of his schizophrenia as a spy that he should use an institution he so admired for purposes of espionage.”
My Rating: 9 out of 10 tasty but colorless apples