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Mother Night is a bold challenge to our sense of morale. A spy during World War II, American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., is now on trial in Israel as a Nazi war criminal. But is he genuinely guilty? Vonnegut turns black and wh... ite into a chilling shade of gray in this brilliant book rife with true gallows humor, with a verdict that will haunt us all.
We'd been apart so long--I'd been dead so long," she said in English. "I thought surely you'd built a new life, with no room in it for me. I'd hoped that." "My life is nothing but room for you." I said. "It could never be filled by anyone but you.
It was not the thought that I was so unloved that froze me. I had taught myself to do without love. It was not the thought that God was cruel that froze me. I had taught myself never to expect anything from Him. What froze me was the fact that I had absolutely no reason to move in any direction. What had made me move through so many dead and pointless years was curiosity. Now even that had flickered out. How long I stood frozen there, I cannot say. If I was ever going to move again, someone else was going to have to furnish the reason for moving. Somebody did. A policeman watched me for a while, and then he came over to me, and he said, "You alright?" Yes," I said. You've been standing here a long time," he said. I know," I said. You waiting for somebody?" he said. No," I said. Better move on, don't you think?" he said. Yes, sir," I said. And I moved on.
There are plenty of good reasons for fighting...but no good reason to ever hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty hates with you, too. Where's evil? It's that large part of every man that wants to hate without limit, that wants to hate with God on its side. It's that part of every man that finds all kinds of ugliness so attractive....it's that part of an imbecile that punishes and vilifies and makes war gladly.
You hate America, don't you?' That would be as silly as loving it,' I said. 'It's impossible for me to get emotional about it, because real estate doesn't interest me. It's no doubt a great flaw in my personality, but I can't think in terms of boundaries. Those imaginary lines are as unreal to me as elves and pixies. I can't believe that they mark the end or the beginning of anything of real concern to a human soul. Virtues and vices, pleasures and pains cross boundaries at will.
Reviews of Mother Night
Howard writes about his life in Germany before his involvement, of his marriage to the daughter of a Police Chief, of the romantic plays he wrote as an apolitical young idealist who thought of the Nazis: "They were people," of Adolph Eichmann whom he meets in Jail, of a broad spectrum of contempo...
The ''irony'' is that even as Campbell is aiding the U.S. cause, he becomes a hero of the Third Reich, a reverent voice of Nazi propaganda who signs off each broadcast as ''the last free American.'' After the war, U.S. officials refuse to acknowledge his patriotic role (it would tip their ha...
Nick Nolte does his best acting in years as Howard Campbell, an American writer living in Germany during World War II who spies on the Nazis by pretending to be one and ends up confused about good and evil.