Book Review

Mother Night

This was a strange book to read leading up to Trump’s America. After all the talk during the 2016 election about how the media, and news reporting, affected the political process, it’s kind of scary to compare that to a Nazi propagandist. Makes you ask yourself a lot of questions that are difficult but necessary. Does Howard W. Campbell Jr’s claim of being an American spy and not believing in the Nazi fanatacism actually matter at all? His actions seem to speak loudly enough, such that the whole world is convinced that he is as fervent a Nazi as Hitler himself.

So much of this book was unsettling and strange. Campbell’s wife’s sister; the American secret agent whom no one else knows about. The polite Nazis who want to support and bolster Campbell.

How powerful is propaganda?

That’s the basic question for any book club reading this one. There’s more, about artists and the masks they wear. About creating art as a form of escapism. About whether an artist should be responsible for the things their creations inspire in the world. By the end of the novel your head is reeling from unanswered questions. Great discussion points, but nothing that can be answered. Only philosophically explored.

I have to say I prefer Slaughterhouse-Five, and of course my favorite Vonnegut: Cat’s Cradle. It’s good to read more Vonnegut any time, certainly. I don’t think I’ll be revisiting this one, though.


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