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Cat's Cradle: A Novel Paperback – September 8, 1998
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“A free-wheeling vehicle . . . an unforgettable ride!”—The New York Times
“[Vonnegut is] an unimitative and inimitable social satirist.”—Harper’s Magazine
“Our finest black-humorist . . . We laugh in self-defense.”—Atlantic Monthly
From the Inside Flap
One of Vonnegut's major works, this is an apocalyptic tale of the planet's ultimate fate, featuring a cast of unlikely heroes.
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The story follows a reporter named John. John wants to write a book Felix Hoennikker, who was one of the principle engineers of the atomic bomb. While investigating him, he meets many things: a new religion called Bokononism, a stone angel, a philosophical dwarf, a Hoosier, and a chemical more dangerous than the A-bomb itself.
Vonnegut spares no one in this volume, taking shots at scientists and the religious with equal fervor. Vonnegut writes some of the best absurd ism in literature, and anyone should be glad to read this. Enjoy.
Cat's Cradle is a story about the end of the world, but I promise you it is not like any apocalyptic story you have read. This is the kind of book that is stuffed with information to contemplate, while at the same time being totally skimmable. Essentially its the kind of books that goes fast, but has so much more to pick up on subsequent reads (I definitely plan to read it again). Cat's Cradle offers an interesting analysis of religion through Bokononism, in which believers maintain that they are all instruments of God's Will, whether they wish to be or not.
While the plot is entertaining and the ideas worth contemplating it was really Kurt's voice that propelled me through the story. Right from the beginning I latched onto his dry wit and rolled with it through to the end. As it happens, I really enjoyed it. Er, rather, as it was meant to happen.
See the cat? See the cradle?
The book is an easy read. The Kindle version I had was 287 pages and chapters are but a few pages at the most. The story flows and, if one's interest is maintained through the story, the book is read quickly. However, even as the story captured my interest at the beginning, by midway through the book it was becoming quite odd and I had difficulty staying committed to finishing it. Granted, I'm admittedly a Vonnegut novice but I am aware he's a satirist who's not afraid to voice his opinions and disagreements with many social and political issues from his time period. In terms of my perception of Cat's Cradle, I think - but am not entirely certain - the oddities of the story, it's characters, the backdrop of the story on a fictional island nation, the influences of a fictional religion made up by an old man considered an "enemy of the state" (in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way), and a few other subplots, all seemed to have passed me by and I failed to understand the significance of what Vonnegut was trying to get across to me. Perhaps one must be more studied in his style, his life, him as a person, and the social climate and issues of his times to ultimately understand the morals of his stories. Would I read Vonnegut again? Yes, but I'm in no hurry.