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Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
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Cat's Cradle (1963)

by Kurt Vonnegut

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English (165)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (170)
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
Some parts were entertaining, but overall, I didn't get it. ( )
  DaphneH | Dec 1, 2014 |
Back in the tumultuous 60s, I tried Kurt Vonnegut, because everyone had one or another of his books at the ready for spare moments of reading. Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five, and Jailbird seemed to be popular titles. I read Mother Night, and a little later, Breakfast of Champions, but didn’t care for them at all. About this time, I began to develop my love for the works of John Updike, so Vonnegut faded from my reading radar. Recently, a friend suggested Cat’s Cradle, and I owe hearty thanks in that direction.

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1922. He passed away in 2007. He is known for his dark humor and imagination. Graham Greene declared, Vonnegut “was one of the best living American Writers.” I remember him as a writer everyone read, but no one would admit to owning any of his books.

Cat’s Cradle is a peculiar book in style, structure, and story-line. About 125 chapters make up the story, and most are only a page or two. This fragmented reading can cause some confusion, but large chunks of the book can be digested in each reading. The narrator, Jonah, wants to write a biography of a scientist involved in the Manhattan Project who had peculiar habits at best. He wanted to stay working at a small foundry, where his numerous patents were shamefully exploited by his employers. He also wanted to work with the construction of the bomb, but he wanted to work alone. When he died, his children scattered, and the narrator must track one of them to a near mythical island in the Caribbean, San Lorenzo. The islanders all adhere to a mysterious, Zen-like religion, Bokononism, which the dictator has outlawed. The islanders all follow this religion in secret, because the punishment for practicing it is a slow and painful death on “the hook.” This tyrant, known as “Papa” Monzano, is near death, and the heir apparent is Frank Hoenikker, son of scientist Dr. Felix Hoenikker the subject of the biography. Jonah becomes entangled in the politics and religion of the island

Vonnegut, was, to say the least as peculiar as some of his novels. Sampling his style here might leave my listeners as bewildered as I was while immersed in the story. Vonnegut’s moments of humor are as dark as a reader might expect, and those are to be savored. Here is a small sample, so good luck. As “Papa” lies dying, he asks for the last rites from his doctor, a shadowy former SS doctor. Vonnegut writes, “‘I am a very bad scientist. I will do anything to make a human being feel better, even if it’s unscientific. No scientist worthy of the name could say such a thing.’ / And he climbed into the golden boat with ‘Papa.’ He sat in the stern. Cramped quarters obliged him to have the golden tiller under one arm. / He wore sandals without socks and he took these off. And then he rolled back the covers at the foot of the bed, exposing ‘Papa’s” bare feet. He put the soles of his feet against ‘Papa’s” feet, assuming the classical position for boko-maru” (219-220).

Cat’s Cradle becomes another novel I have added to the list of works which need to be experienced, rather than merely read. Readers tend to two extreme views of Vonnegut: either, “I read all his books when I was in college; I love him,” or “Too weird for me!” I now place myself in the middle of these two extremes. If you read Vonnegut in the heady days of the 60s – or if you didn’t – he is certainly worth a re-visit. 5 stars

--Jim, 10/17/14 ( )
1 vote rmckeown | Oct 25, 2014 |
I'm still unsure about how much I like this book as it is very strange. It explores how scientists make discoveries without caring where the technology will lead, religion, dictatorships and all sorts of issues that affected the world in the 1960s. It was a very witty read, but I found the short chapters distracting and would like to have seen more made of the ice-9. ( )
  martensgirl | Oct 14, 2014 |
Still ranks high on my list of fantastic books. I don't recall when I last read this, but I do know that, when I first read it in highschool, I must have missed quite a bit of the subtlety and irony in this. Now I know that I have to revisit all of Vonnegut's works. ( )
  tlockney | Sep 7, 2014 |
This was a really good book! Weird, as Vonnegut always is, but poignant too. He makes his points really well, and the book is a really fast and interesting read. Towards the end it really gets...touching, even moving, without losing its sense of the absurd, or becoming any less entertaining. Excellent book. ( )
  sammii507 | Aug 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 165 (next | show all)
Video
 
"Cat's Cradle" is an irreverent and often highly entertaining fantasy concerning the playful irresponsibility of nuclear scientists. Like the best of contemporary satire, it is work of a far more engaging and meaningful order than the melodramatic tripe which most critics seem to consider "serious."
 

» Add other authors (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vonnegut, Kurtprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
House, JulianCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kapari, MarjattaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kunkel, BenjaminIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pelham, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Nothing in this book is true.
'Live by the foma* that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.'
The Books of Bokonon. I:5
*harmless untruths
Dedication
For Kenneth Littauer

a man of gallantry and taste.
First words
Call me Jonah.
Quotations
"No wonder kids grow up crazy. A cat's cradle is nothing but a bunch of X's between somebody's hands, and little kids look and look and look at all those X's..."
"And?"
"No damn cat, and no damn cradle."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 038533348X, Paperback)

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 of the world's most important and dangerous substance, a new form of ice that freezes at room temperature. At one time, this novel could probably be found on the bookshelf of every college kid in America; it's still a fabulous read and a great place to start if you're young enough to have missed the first Vonnegut craze.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:01 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A satirical science fiction novel.

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Audible.com

3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141189347, 0141045442, 0241951607

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