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Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle (Cat's Cradle: A Novel by Kurt Vonnegut (Paperback - Sept. 8, 1998)) Paperback – September 8, 1997


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Paperback, September 8, 1997
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Dell Publishing; 15th THUS edition edition (September 8, 1997)
  • ASIN: B00380F0IQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (694 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922. He studied at the universities of Chicago and Tennessee and later began to write short stories for magazines. His first novel, Player Piano, was published in 1951 and since then he has written many novels, among them: The Sirens of Titan (1959), Mother Night (1961), Cat's Cradle (1963), God Bless You Mr Rosewater (1964), Welcome to the Monkey House; a collection of short stories (1968), Breakfast of Champions (1973), Slapstick, or Lonesome No More (1976), Jailbird (1979), Deadeye Dick (1982), Galapagos (1985), Bluebeard (1988) and Hocus Pocus (1990). During the Second World War he was held prisoner in Germany and was present at the bombing of Dresden, an experience which provided the setting for his most famous work to date, Slaughterhouse Five (1969). He has also published a volume of autobiography entitled Palm Sunday (1981) and a collection of essays and speeches, Fates Worse Than Death (1991).

Customer Reviews

It is a quick read, few central characters and very short chapters.
KD0711
Vonnegut is a comedic/satiric genius and he displays all his talents in this novel.
C. Villamizar
Anyway, the book is good, funny most of the times, and it makes you think.
Alvaro Alonso

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

337 of 351 people found the following review helpful By L A Spillane-Larke on May 17, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
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.
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77 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Jane on July 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
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.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Brendan on November 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Vonnegut writes the book with the question that "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" plays with on a different level, all the while throwing in philosophies, wit, and things to ponder on and about during the COLD WAR.
The narrator (first-person incompetent) is somewhat vacant, and being so, maneuvers the story the best way possible.
The narrator is writing a book on the atomic bomb and he travels about meeting strange people who know the creators of the bomb. The characters he meets are funny and strange (You would have to be an oddball to be toying with doomsday.). In his journey he finds the sons and daughter of the inventor of the A-bomb. He finds that these three are an eccentric and foolish trio. The daughter and sons hold with them ice-nine, a weapon that makes the a-bomb seem infantile. Ice-nine was an attempt by their father to make battlefields (mud) solidify, making battle easier on soldiers. It winds up making any moisture it touches solid and blue, but its one flaw is, once put into the atmosphere it regenerates without stopping, freezing everything in its path(including human beings).
Vonnegut throws in the element of Bokononism, a quirky, weird religion spawned by an eccentric, self-made prophet named Bokonon. This angle plays in the mind of the reader as it debases the relevancy of all religions, thus, for example, making Catholicism or Islam just as strange as Bokononism. Bokononists chant about man being born of the "mud."
Symbolically the three children holding ice-nine, a single flake of which will end mankind as we know it, stand for three world superpowers. It shows that anyone, no matter how high in power, can be foolish, and should have no access to such an element of destruction.
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