MAJOR NEWS BULLETIN:
As of today, almost seven weeks after I first posted this, I've finished reading Bluebeard!
I didn't really like it. The plot was kind of interesting, I guess, but I found every main character EXTREMELY unlikeable and can't say I relate terribly well to the plight of the Armenian people prior to World War II, which is a major element of the book. I also found the "secret" that the plot builds up to terribly uninteresting and rather clumsily handled, and, to sound as insufferably cynical as I can, I guessed what it was almost immediately after the mystery was first introduced.
The narrative also jumps around quite a bit, and many of the seemingly-important characters introduced at the beginning of the book (such as the main character's wife and children) seem to be forgotten about entirely during the meat of the novel, then hastily re-introduced right at the end as if the author suddenly remembered them. I quite enjoyed the scenes where the protagonist interacts with his strict and imposing master, but they're over far too quickly and replaced only with more melodrama for the remainder of the story.
Also, this is going to sound really prudish, but I found all the sex and cursing to be really gratuitous and oftentimes just plain sophomoric. The main character is supposed to be this world-weary old man, but he talks (or, I guess, "writes") like a 13-year-old boy. I've got no problem with sex in fiction, but the way Vonnegut portrays it in this book is just pretty gross - no pomp and circumstance about it at all.
I guess that I shouldn't judge the rest of the author's work based on this book, because (from what I understand) it seems to be very much an outlier of his writing career, but I kind of regret picking it up in the first place. Oh well! If nothing else, it helped me pinpoint what I don't like in literary characters, which will hopefully inform my own fiction writing going forward.
For the record, I actually *did* take the advice of >>17
and picked up another book before finishing this one: Journey to the West, which I read a few chapters into before continuing with Bluebeard. Good read, so far!