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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 (188)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (193)
Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Determined to write a non-fiction book entitled The Day the World Ended about the day the nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, freelance journalist John travels to Ilium, New York. He meets the family of the deceased Dr. Felix Hoenikker, one of the fathers of the nuclear bomb. John learns that Frank Hoenikker, the doctor's fugitive son, lives on the Caribbean island of San Lorenzo. Among an odd assortment of characters in the tiny island dictatorship, John encounters a former Calypso singer turned religious prophet named Bokonon and becomes a convert. John learns that each of the three Hoenikker offspring owns a vial of Ice-nine, the doctor's final invention. Ice-nine is so deadly that a single drop will freeze all the water on Earth, making the planet uninhabitable and killing all living things. John is just about to assume the presidency of San Lorenzo when an accident releases the Ice-nine into the ocean. Instantly, all plant and animal life is killed. Only a few ants and six humans survive the cataclysm.

Arriving on the island of San Lorenzo, John is surprised to find that the people are malnourished, impoverished, homeless and diseased. The Americans who accompany him on his journey are greedy, destructive or misguided. The dictator of San Lorenzo, Papa Monzano, is the worst of all. Each of the Hoenikkers has used his or her vial of the fatal Ice-nine for their own purposes. Angela, Frank and Newton are each willing to sacrifice the entire world for love or money.

Papa Monzano commits suicide by ingesting the Ice-nine. John, with the Hoenikkers' help, isolates the dangerous crystal when an explosion sends Papa's body plunging into the sea. Instantly, all the water on the earth freezes and almost all life perishes. John manages to survive along with Newt and Frank Hoenikker and the greedy Crosbys. ( )
  bostonwendym | Aug 25, 2016 |
This is a short book with extremely short chapters. My Kindle edition listed the book as 288 pages, and there were 127 chapters contained within those pages. It was a fast-paced read, and it held my attention well. I also really liked the metaphorical title, although I’m not going to explain it in this review so potential readers can discover it for themselves. Once you know what the title represents, it adds more layers of interpretation to the book itself.

It’s difficult to explain what this story is about without spoiling anything, because the story slowly morphs into something different as it progresses, so I’ll just talk about how it starts. Cat’s Cradle is written from the first-person perspective of a writer who calls himself Jonah. Jonah has set himself the task of writing about the day the first atomic bomb was dropped. He starts this task with a particular focus on Dr. Felix Hoenikker, the fictional father of the atom bomb, and Hoenikker’s three children. Jonah’s interviews and the research he does for his book lead to the events that make up the story.

The book is pretty satirical, although I thought the satire was subtle. On the other hand, those who follow my reviews closely know I’ve read quite a few Discworld books lately, so maybe any satire would seem subtle by comparison. :) There was some humor in this book, but I thought it was mostly overshadowed by the pessimistic and bleak attitude toward human nature and humanity’s future. I couldn’t say the attitude was unrealistic, and I could see where people might find this book depressing.

One large focus in the book is the idea of religion, what aspects of religion appeal to people, and its purpose in society. This is demonstrated primarily through a fictional religion called Bokononism. There’s also some focus on the idea of intellectualism and the potential foolishness of pursuing an intellectual idea for no purpose other than fascination with the idea itself, without stepping back to consider the bigger picture.

This is the second book I’ve read by Vonnegut. The first was Slaughterhouse-Five, which I read about a year ago. I liked Cat’s Cradle a good bit better. Although I think this book is typically classified as science fiction, it’s not heavily “science-fictiony”. It would likely appeal to people who like their fiction to be more literary. ( )
  YouKneeK | Jul 23, 2016 |
A book about innocent/naive men being capable of great destruction and the need to keep great weapons away from humans. Often bleakly humorous and a very enjoyable read. ( )
  kale.dyer | Jul 13, 2016 |
There were many moments when I cried out in delight whilst reading this fine, crazy book. Just this: read it. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Jul 3, 2016 |
I think I might be developing a taste for Vonnegut's silly dark tragic humour. I was not a big fan of Slaughterhouse Five, but I did enjoy this one. All's not lost between me and Vonnegut. ( )
  LauraM77 | Jun 28, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 188 (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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