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

by Kurt Vonnegut

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (192)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  English (197)
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
Firstly Vonnegut is a great writer. Entertaining, ever-readable and full of ideas. Cat's Cradle is a fine example of this. A funny novel, yet one full of rage and despair at humanity's stupidity, this was written at the height of the Cold War, when mutually assured destruction was a real possibility.

Centred on a journalist, Jonah, and his travails on the poor, pitiful island of San Lorenzo, Vonnegut manages to make fun of both religion, despots and the idiocy of weapons of mass destruction.

It is a broader novel than the haunting, elegiac Slaughterhouse Five, the characters bordering on stereotypes, but each serves a purpose, moving the story along to it's inevitable conclusion. It's a bleak but thought provoking read, the humour the blackest of black. ( )
  David.Manns | Nov 28, 2016 |
John, who starts off researching what family members of the makers of the atomic bomb were doing on the day when Hiroshima was bombed, but soon gets caught up in a minor mystery that involves the children of physicist Felix Hoenikker. Add in a calypso singer’s personal theology, the odd substance called Ice-Nine, and a large helping of satirical humor and you have quite the book!

This was my first Vonnegut book (yep, I know, where have I been?) and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Sometimes I don’t care for satire because so often it is tied to certain political events or a political climate, and if you aren’t versed in those happenings, lots of it flies over your head. Not so with this book! Sure, there is some satire that refers to people and events that I’m not familiar with, but much of it was easy to pin down. Plus there’s plenty of other humor and the whole plot going on to keep me entertained. I was especially interested in the Ice-Nine. I figured it was tied into the dystopian theme the book’s description mentions, but it took forever to get around to it. Indeed, Ice-Nine and the ending of the world don’t play a part until the very end of the novel. So if you’re going into this novel hoping for a dystopian story, you will be a bit disappointed.

The calypso singer, Bokonon, has this theology (called Bokononism by the practitioners) that kicks off the book as John relates his story to us as if it’s all over, said, and done. John, in his own tale, doesn’t come upon Bokononism until he travels to the island of San Lorenzo, where he meets two of the Hoenikker children. The theology is filled with little truths that gave me a chuckle here and there. One of the little rituals Bokononists partake in is touching the soles of their feet to one another, making them feel closer to each other. Oddly enough, Bokononism has been banned on San Lorenzo even as everyone is secretly a Bokononist.

Each of the three Hoenikker children are rather different, but it was Newton Hoenikker, the youngest child, who caught my attention. He’s a dwarf and also a medical student. I liked his recollections of his dad and older siblings, his sister being the care-taker of the family once their mother passed away. Indeed, his descriptions of his father, the physicist, reminds me of so many scientists I knew when I worked in Los Alamos.

It took me a while to figure out why this book is called Cat’s Cradle and if you’re wondering the same thing, the answer does eventually come. It seems much of the book is that way: there’s this set up at the front end but it takes time to eventually arrive at those same things once again so that we fully understand them. For instance, the book starts off with some Bokononism stuff but it’s only later that we learn the origins of Bokononism. John hints that the world has ended, but we only find out how and why towards the very end of the novel. In this regard, I think this is one of those novels that is best read all in one sitting rather than broken up over a week.

In the end, I liked it. Yes, I did spend the entire book eagerly awaiting the dystopian bit the book’s description promises, but when it comes it is indeed a bleak world and I’m not sure how humanity will survive it. I didn’t get all the Bokononism stuff but it did provide quite a bit of entertainment. Hoenikker and his kids are the backbone that made this book interesting to me. I really enjoyed hearing what the now-grown kids had to say about their now-dead dad and growing up in the shadow of the atomic bomb project.

The Narration: Tony Roberts was a good pick for narrating this book. He had distinct voices for all the characters and carried off the humor quite well. I liked his Indiana accent for Ma Hoosier and his Caribbean accent for the native San Lorenzoans. Also, this edition of the audiobook contained an older interview with Kurt Vonnegut that I found informative and amusing. In the interview, it’s rather informal as the interviewer is one of his good friends and it sounds like they are simply having a chat about his book and other things, like Vonnegut’s military experience. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Nov 22, 2016 |
Who knows what this was about -- your guess is as good as mine -- and I just finished reading it! I don't really understand Vonnegut's writing. It's easy to read but I don't usually get the point. I guess I should be in a class where someone explains it all.
In Cat's Cradle, the narrator has decided to write a book about the man who invented the atomic bomb (fictional, but inspired by a real person). Events fit together like a puzzle to lead the narrator to a small island where the inventor's three adult children also arrive, along with some of the atomic matter that their father invented. Well, by accident some of this matter gets out and destroys everything on earth and all the people, except the narrator (who was still able to write this book) and about five other people there. The point? Be careful with atomic matter? Oh well... I got to mark it off several of my lists! ;) ( )
  TerriS | Oct 11, 2016 |
I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this book, as I previously struggled to get through Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. (Perhaps Vonnegut's books are meant to be binge-read over a day and a half?!?) A few times while reading I glanced back at the original copyright date and I can't help but wonder if reading this novel would have been a completely different experience in the 1960s. The atomic bomb, disastrous weapons, and the internal politics of a dictatorship loom large in this book, giving it a bit of a Cold War feel. Overall, this made for interesting reading and one I will enjoy discussing in a book club. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Sep 25, 2016 |
I may need to re-read this someday. It seemed awfully dry and characterless, despite the good wit, which resulted in me not really paying it enough attention and reading it in spurts with long breaks between. ( )
  valzi | Sep 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
Jailbird is KV's surrealistic yet stunningly pertinent account of the part he played, under the alias of Walter F. Starbuck, as the least significant—and hitherto entirely unknown—conspirator in the villainies of Watergate. No, it isn't. It's a love-affair with language and ideas. If you read the publisher's blurb (which God forbid!) you'll be utterly misled by a prosaic example of abstracting at its lowest ebb, totally devoid of poetry, imagination, style and, (sin of sins) Kurt Vonnegutness.
added by KayCliff | editThe Indexer, John A. Gordon (Oct 1, 1980)
 
"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 (31 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
Roberts, TonyNarratorsecondary 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."
'Aamons, Mona', the index said, 'adopted by
Monzano in order to boost Monzano's
popularity, 194-199, 216n; childhood in com
pound of House of Hope and Mercy, 63-81;
childhood romance with P. Castle, 72f; death of father, 89ff; death of mother, 92f; embarrassed
by role as national erotic symbol, 80, 95, 166n.,
209, 247n., 400-406, 566n., 678; engaged to P.
Castle, 193; essential naivete, 67-71, 80, 95f,
116n., 209, 274n., 400-406, 566n., 678; lives with
Bokonon, 92-98, 196-197; poems about, 2n., 26,
114, 119, 311, 316, 477n., 501, 507, 555n., 689,
718ff, 799ff, 800n., 841, 846ff, 908n., 971, 974;
poems by, 89, 92, 193; returns to Monzano, 199?
returns to Bokonon, 197; runs away from
Bokonon, 199; runs away from Monzano, 197;
tries to make self ugly in order to stop being
erotic symbol to islanders, 80, 95f, 116n., 209,
247n., 400-406, 566n., 678; tutored by Bokonon,
63-80; writes letter to United Nations, 200;
xylophone virtuoso, 71'.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:04 -0400)

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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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