Mother Night


Booking it. Many consider Vonnegut’s later works to be one of the best anti-war novels of all time. “Mother Night” was released in 1961, while “Slaughter-House Five” wouldn’t be published for another eight years. “Mother Night was just as good as Slaughter-House. They were both really interesting and fun to read,” stated Mariah Navarro (12).

Katie Jones, Staff Reporter

“Mother Night” is a novel published in 1961 by renounced author Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut is know to many as one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. His works include “Slaughter-House Five,” “Cats Cradle,” “Breakfast of Champions” and many other novels and forms of literature.

“Mother Night” is the critical fictional story about a man named Howard W. Campbell Jr., who is imprisoned and waiting for trial, charged with crimes against humanities. Soon after, readers learn that Campbell was a playwright and radio host for Nazi propaganda during WWII. However, he claims he was a double agent hired from his homeland of the U.S. to climb ranks in Nazi Germany, and that he would send secret messages through his radio program to the Allied Powers. It is up to the reader to decide if Campbell really is a secret agent or truly a Nazi.

Kurt Vonnegut was an outspoken pacifist after serving in WWII. While on duty, he was in the German city of Dresden when it was bombed, and became an major impact for his future works. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” Vonnegut said in reference to “Mother Night.” Source:

Told in the first person and begins with Campbell Jr. locked in a jail cell in Jerusalem, then begins narrating his story from the beginning. First moving to Germany as a child and becoming a playwright, then to the start of WWII, when he was recruited by a mysterious American agent. This book has so many unexpectedly good twists and turns that will keep readers interested till the end. Another thing that makes this novel so good is the sympathy Vonnegut gets readers to feel about this protagonist, who has done terrible things; but has also lost a lot in his life and has been put through appalling situations. This book is littered with famous WWII events and historical figures, along with Cold War nods, which fans of historical fiction will love.

Mariah Navarro (12) likes reading a good book every once in a while. Last year she was assigned to read “Slaughter-House Five” by her English teacher and enjoyed it.

At a recommendation, she read “Mother Night” and stated, “The story was really interesting, lots of surprises. And the ending was really unexpected and sad.”

If readers are less known to “Mother Night” and more familiar with Vonnegut’s most famous work “Slaughter-house Five” the author is a big fan of linking his stories together, fairly similar to the Marvel universe, and Campbell Jr. makes an appearance in Vonnegut’s most well known work.

When asked her thoughts if others unknown to this novel should look into it, Navarro said, “I would 100 percent definitely recommend this book to others.”

This novel will make readers feel emotions all over the spectrum and question morality along with society. Though this book takes place in the early to mid-twentieth century, it is still relevant to events going on in today’s world. For readers looking for something entirely original and full of plot twists, “Mother Night” is well worth the hassle of tracking down a copy.