Mother Night is a punch to the stomach, and yet I can’t recommend it highly enough. It should firmly unseat Vonnegut from the catch-all postmodernist literature movement because, whereas Pynchon or Wallace eschew emotions, Vonnegut will emote the hell out of you. When I had a periodontal abscess, which is slightly less painful than reading some of the more horrifying parts of Night, I was giving benzocaine, which is also called Hurricane Spray to make people feel better about, I don’t know, anesthesia. “Hurricane Spray takes your breath away.” This might be the most popular motto in the medical world because I’ve now heard it twice, word for word. And it’s true. The first spray numbs your throat. The second one force you to cough for air.
(If you have ever read Slaughterhouse-Five, Mother Night is nothing like it. I’m good at imagining fake similarities and differences between works of literature; it’s the only thing that gets you through high school and college classes. Night and Slaughterhouse-Five, though? Worlds apart.)
Mother Night is benzocaine.