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Cat's Cradle: A Novel

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Cat's Cradle, one of Vonnegut's most entertaining novels, is filled with scientists and G-men and even ordinary folks caught up in the game. These assorted characters chase each other around in search...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Amazing

I don't like sci-fi, but I loved this. This is the first Vonnegut I've read (I took a chance after reading so much praise for it) and it definitely won't be the last. It's one of those rare and wonderful books in the same vein as Animal Farm: simple prose, easy to read, yet with ironic tinges and thought-provoking depths; a novel that can be read and enjoyed at many different levels.Cat's Cradle is narrated through Jonah, an author who aims to write a book on the single day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. On investigating the atomic bomb's main founding father (and his three children) he is told about a *non-existant* substance with the capacity to provide all water on earth with a different molecular structure, turning it into Ice 9 (ie, a substance that could bring about the end of the world) A different assignment takes Jonah to the small island of San Lorenzo where he encounters Felix Hoenikker's three children and a society where the religion of choice (a religion that everyone knows is based on lies, yet still has utter faith in) is punishable by death, for the simple fact that it adds excitement to the dull lives of the inhabitants. I won't go any further...The thing that delighted me most about this book was the way in which it was written. A lot of great and influential books are ones that (on the whole) you enjoy, but take a while to get into, and at times you feel like giving up on: you know the book in question is good literature, but the style and plot make finishing it seem a chore.Similarly, a lot of fast-paced books hold little impact, don't challenge the mind and are forgotten the instant you read them.Kurt Vonnegut has managed to write a powerful and memorable novel in a short, snappy style: this book has everything that makes a compelling, challenging read. Vonnegut lets you get a feel for the characters without going into lengthy descriptions, he manages to make sharp, subtle criticisms of religion, human nature and society without rambling or whining, his plot is exciting yet not unrealistic, he creates a hellish world that plays on everyone's fear of obliteration in precious few words. I thought the ending was too abrupt, but it fitted well with the rest of the story (and it would have been even more disappointing if he'd created a satisfying, everything-tied-up-nicely ending)I found this impossible to put down, and highly recommend it to any fan of literature.

As good as Slaughterhouse Five!

Slaughterhouse Five makes it to many top 100 novel lists. This novel by Vonnegut is almost, if not equally as good.Slaughterhouse Five portrays the horrors of war against an indifferent, even amused set of "powers that be." In Cat's Cradle, we see the potential for man's destruction after Hiroshima fictionalized as "Ice-Nine", a crystal of water organized so that it converts all water on the planet to a permanent, diamond-like solid.The fun parts of Cat's Cradle include a Rastafarian-like religion on the island of San Lorenzo, founded by Bokanon and his goddess-like daughter Mona, who enchants her followers while playing her xylophone. Bokanonism introduces us to the concept of the "karas", a group of people you are inextricable linked to by fate, and a "granfalloon" , which is a group of people linked by no true commonality, like the Shriners or a golf club. (My dad once remarked in passing that he used to play bridge in Indianapolis with some guy named Vonnegut, thus illustrating perfectly the concept of the granfalloon.) Bokononism (better known as the Church of God The Utterly Indifferent) is a religion parody, but somehow contains some truths. The concepts of the karas, dupras (karas of only two people, sometimes married who usually die within minutes of each other) and the granfalloon are amazing comments on human society. The threat of Ice-Nine is a brilliant parody of the Cold War and nuclear proliferation. This is one of Vonnegut's best and should be on your must-read list.

Vonnegut

Cat's Cradle is by far the best Vonnegut novel that I have yet read. Blending his patented wry humor with acute social insight presented in an absurd fantasy world, Vonnegut has written an exceptional novel of love, lies, and the self destruction of mankind. The story centers around the narrator, Jonah, who is called by name once in the entire book. We are told in the beginning that he is writing a book on the events of the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. His research leads him to a correspondence with Newt Hoenikker, the midget son of Doctor Felix Hoenikker, father of the atomic bomb. After meeting with Newt, destiny leads our protagonist to the impoverished island republic of San Lorenzo, where among other adventures, he finds religion, falls in love, and becomes president. All of this by itself would make for a very entertaining book, but it is not in the story line that Vonnegut's genius lies. Cat's Cradle is rife with painfully accurate insights into the institutions that our society holds so dear, such as, religion, politics, and science. Vonnegut invents for the inhabitants of San Lorenzo a brand new religion based completely and admittedly on "foma", or lies. This wouldn't be so shocking, except for the fact that this "bokonism" seems to make perfect sense. Other Vonnegut ironies pervade the book and are too elaborate to go into. Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author of all time. Cat's Cradle is one of his funniest, most absurd, and frightening novels. This book truly causes one to stop and think about the things that one holds as unquestionably true. All of the incredible people, places, things, and ideas in Cat's Cradle are intricately woven into a perfect tapestry that sums up and spells out many of mankind's self-created problems in 191 pages. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

"No Cat, No Cradle!"

If you've never read Kurt Vonnegut before, then you face a slight dilemma. You have two options available to you (well, really you've got more than two, but as long as you're reading this, I'm running the show and I say you've only got two):1) You can read a slew of other Vonnegut books and build up to reading "Cat's Cradle," or2) You can read "Cat's Cradle" and be so entirely blown away that no Vonnegut book will ever again live up to your newly inflated expectations.That said, "Cat's Cradle" is an absolute must read for anyone and everyone over the age of birth. To summarize Vonnegut's crazy, whacked out plot would be an exercise in futility: it's got something to do with the father of the atomic bomb and his three bizarre children and the narrator who will chronicle their story as they get mixed up with the inhabitants of the island of San Lorenzo, all of whom are Bokononists. Confused yet? You should be. Throw in a little bit of ice-nine, a chemical that can feasibly bring about the end of the world, and you might have a slight inkling of the pieces of Vonnegut's puzzle.Still, for all of the crazy characters and situations in "Cat's Cradle," it's ultimately a brilliant satire of the Cold War; at one particular moment a character realizes the importance of dichotomies, why we must believe the other is "evil" for us to be able to see ourselves as "good" and how absurd such things are, how phony and constructed they are. At the heart of all this is Vonnegut's brilliant metaphor for the cat's cradle, and it's a beauty.Even if all this political satire doesn't grab you, just the way in which Vonnegut manages to throw a dozen ridiculous balls in the air and keep them well juggled and catch them all with grace by the final page is testament to his skill. "Cat's Cradle" is a book that'll make you sit up and think, but will also make you laugh out loud and maybe even touch you emotionally, particularly during the American ambassador to San Lorenzo's speech. It's so gut wrenching and absurd and oh so wonderfully written that you'll be hooked before you even realize it. Read it; this is as good as it gets.

Cat's Cradle is terrific. (As it was meant to be)

Cat's Cradle is by far the best Vonnegut novel that I have yet read. Blending his patented wry humor with acute social insight presented in an absurd fantasy world, Vonnegut has written an exceptional novel of love, lies, and the self destruction of mankind. The story centers around the narrator, Jonah, who is called by name once in the entire book. We are told in the beginning that he is writing a book on the events of the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. His research leads him to a correspondence with Newt Hoenikker, the midget son of Doctor Felix Hoenikker, father of the atomic bomb. After meeting with Newt, destiny leads our protagonist to the impoverished island republic of San Lorenzo, where among other adventures, he finds religion, falls in love, and becomes president. All of this by itself would make for a very entertaining book, but it is not in the story line that Vonnegut's genius lies. Cat's Cradle is rife with painfully accurate insights into the institutions that our society holds so dear, such as, religion, politics, and science. Vonnegut invents for the inhabitants of San Lorenzo a brand new religion based completely and admittedly on "foma", or lies. This wouldn't be so shocking, except for the fact that this "bokonism" seems to make perfect sense. Other Vonnegut ironies pervade the book and are too elaborate to go into. Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author of all time. Cat's Cradle is one of his funniest, most absurd, and frightening novels. This book truly causes one to stop and think about the things that one holds as unquestionably true. All of the incredible people, places, things, and ideas in Cat's Cradle are intricately woven into a perfect tapestry that sums up and spells out many of mankind's self-created problems in 191 pages.

Cat's Cradle Mentions in Our Blog

Cat's Cradle in Crazy Cat Ladies Everywhere, Rejoice – It's International Cat Day!
Crazy Cat Ladies Everywhere, Rejoice – It's International Cat Day!
Published by Beth Clark • August 08, 2018

If the cat found buried with a human on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus is any indicator, humans have been fascinated by, obsessed with, and affectionately herding cats as pets for 9500 years. Cats started showing up in cave art around 1950 BC, so it's safe to say that humans and felines go way, waaay back.

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