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Description

Product Description

“A free-wheeling vehicle . . . an unforgettable ride!”— The New York Times 

Cat’s Cradle
is Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet’s ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist, a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer, and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny. A book that left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers, Cat’s Cradle is one of the twentieth century’s most important works—and Vonnegut at his very best.

“[Vonnegut is] an unimitative and inimitable social satirist.”—Harper’s Magazine

“Our finest black-humorist . . . We laugh in self-defense.”—Atlantic Monthly

Review

“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 Back Cover

One of Vonnegut''s major works, this is an apocalyptic tale of the planet''s ultimate fate, featuring a cast of unlikely heroes.

About the Author

Kurt Vonnegut’s black humor, satiric voice, and incomparable imagination first captured America’s attention in The Sirens of Titan in 1959 and established him as “a true artist” ( The New York Times) with Cat’s Cradle in 1963. He was, as Graham Greene declared, “one of the best living American writers.” Mr. Vonnegut passed away in April 2007.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

The Day the World Ended


Call me Jonah. My parents did, or nearly did. They called me John.

Jonah--John--if I had been a Sam, I would have been Jonah still--not because I have been unlucky for others, but because somebody or something has compelled me to be certain places at certain times, without fail. Conveyances and motives, both conventional and bizarre, have been provided. And, according to plan, at each appointed second, at each appointed place this Jonah was there.

Listen:

When I was a younger man--two wives ago, 250,000 cigarettes ago, 3,000 quarts of booze ago . . .

When I was a much younger man, I began to collect material for a book to be called The Day the World Ended.

The book was to be factual.

The book was to be an account of what important Americans had done on the day when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

It was to be a Christian book. I was a Christian then.

I am a Bokononist now.

I would have been a Bokononist then, if there had been anyone to teach me the bittersweet lies of Bokonon. But Bokononism was unknown beyond the gravel beaches and coral knives that ring this little island in the Caribbean Sea, the Republic of San Lorenzo.

We Bokononists believe that humanity is organized into teams, teams that do God''s Will without ever discovering what they are doing. Such a team is called a karass by Bokonon, and the instrument, the kan-kan, that bought me into my own particular karass was the book I never finished, the book to be called The Day the World Ended.

Chapter Two



Nice, Nice, Very Nice

"If you find your life tangled up with somebody else''s life for no very logical reasons," writes Bokonon, "that person may be a member of your karass."

At another point in The Books of Bokonon he tells us, "Man created the checkerboard; God created the karass." By that he means that a karass ignores national, institutional, occupational, familial, and class boundaries.

It is as free-form as an amoeba.

In his "Fifty-third Calypso," Bokonon invites us to sing along with him:

Oh, a sleeping drunkard
Up in Central Park,
And a lion-hunter
In the jungle dark,
And a Chinese dentist,
And a British queen--
All fit together
In the same machine.
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice very nice--
So many different people
In the same device.

Chapter Three



Folly

Nowhere does Bokonon warn against a person''s trying to discover the limits of his karass and the nature of the work God Almighty has had it do. Bokonon simply observes that such investigations are bound to be incomplete.

In the autobiographical section of The Books of Bokonon he writes a parable on the folly of pretending to discover, to understand:

I once knew an Episcopalian lady in Newport, Rhode Island, who asked me to design and build a doghouse for her Great Dane. The lady claimed to understand God and His Ways of Working perfectly. She could not understand why anyone should be puzzled about what had been or about what was going to be.

And yet, when I showed her a blueprint of the doghouse I proposed to build, she said to me, "I''m sorry, but I never could read one of those things."

"Give it to your husband or your ministers to pass on to God," I said, "and, when God finds a minute, I''m sure he''ll explain this doghouse of mine in a way that even you can understand."

She fired me. I shall never forget her. She believed that God liked people in sailboats much better than He liked people in motorboats. She could not bear to look at a worm. When she saw a worm, she screamed.

She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he sees what God is Doing, [writes Bokonon].

Chapter Four



A Tentative Tangling

Of Tendrils

Be that as it may, I intend in this book to include as many members of my karass as possible, and I mean to examine all strong hints as to what on Earth we, collectively, have been up to.

I do not intend that this book be a tract on behalf of Bokononism. I should like to offer a Bokononist warning about it, however. The first sentence in The Books of Bokonon is this:

"All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies."

My Bokononist warning in this:

Anyone unable to understand how a useful religion can be founded on lies will not understand this book either.

So be it.

. . .

About my karass, then.

It surely includes the three children of Dr. Felix Hoenikker, one of the so-called "Fathers" of the first atomic bomb. Dr. Hoenikker himself was no doubt a member of my karass, though he was dead before my sinookas, the tendrils of my life, began to tangle with those of his children.

The first of his heirs to be touched by my sinookas was Newton Hoenikker, the youngest of his three children, the younger of his two sons. I learned from the publication of my fraternity, The Delta Upsilon Quarterly, that Newton Hoenikker, son of the Noel Prize physicist, Felix Hoenikker, had been pledged by my chapter, the Cornell Chapter.

So I wrote this letter to Newt:

"Dear Mr. Hoenikker:

"Or should I say, Dear Brother Hoenikker?

"I am a Cornell DU now making my living as a free-lance writer. I am gathering material for a book relating to the first atomic bomb. Its contents will be limited to events that took place on August 6, 1945, the day the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

"Since your late father is generally recognized as having been one of the chief creators of the bomb, I would very much appreciate any anecdotes you might care to give me of life in your father''s house on the day the bomb was dropped.

"I am sorry to say that I don''t know as much about your illustrious family as I should, and so don''t know whether you have brothers and sisters. If you do have brothers and sisters, I should like very much to have their addresses so that I can send similar requests to them.

"I realize that you were very young when the bomb was dropped, which is all to the good, My book is going to emphasize the human rather than the technical side of the bomb, so recollections of the day through the eyes of a ''baby, if you''ll pardon the expression, would fit in perfectly.

"You don''t have to worry about style and form. Leave all that to me. Just give me the bare bones of your story.

"I will, of course, submit the final version to you for your approval prior to publication.

"Fraternally yours--"

Chapter Five


Letter from

a pre med

To which Newt replied:

"I am sorry to be so long about answering your letter. That sounds like a very interesting book you are doing. I was so young when the bomb was dropped that I don''t think I''m going to be much help. You should really ask my brother and sister, who are both older than I am. My sister is Mrs. Harrison C. Conners, 4918 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. That is my home address, too, now. I think she will be glad to help you. Nobody knows where my brother Frank is. He disappeared right after Father''s funeral two years ago, and nobody has heard from him since. For all we know, he may be dead now.

"I was only six years old when they dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, so anything I remember about that day other people have helped me to remember.

"I remember I was playing on the living-room carpet outside my father''s study door in Ilium, New York. The door was open, and I could see my father. He was wearing pajamas and a bathrobe. He was smoking a cigar. He was playing with a loop of string. Father was staying home from the laboratory in his pajamas all day that day. He stayed home whenever he wanted to.

"Father, as you probably know, spent practically his whole professional life working for the Research Laboratory of the General Forge and Foundry Company in Ilium. When the Manhattan Project came along, the bomb project, Father wouldn''t leave Ilium to work on it. He said he wouldn''t work on it at all unless they let him work where he wanted to work. A lot of the time that meant at home. The only place he liked to go, outside of Ilium, was our cottage on Cape Cod. Cape Cod was where he died. He died on a Christmas Eve. You probably know that, too.

"Anyway, I was playing on the carpet outside his study on the day of the bomb. My sister Angela tells me I used to play with little toy trucks for hours, making motor sounds, going ''burton, burton, burton'' all the time. So I guess I was going ''burton, burton, burton'' on the day of the bomb; and Father was in his study, playing with a loop of string.

"It so happens I know where the string he was playing with came from. Maybe you can use it somewhere in your book. Father took the string from around the manuscript of a novel that a man in prison had sent him. The novel was about the end of the world in the year 2000, and the name of the book was 2000 A.D. It told about how mad scientists made a terrific bomb that wiped out the whole world. There was a big sex orgy when everybody knew that the world was going to end, and then Jesus Christ Himself appeared ten seconds before the bomb went off. The name of the author was Marvin Sharpe Holderness, and he told Father in a covering letter the he was in prison for killing his own brother. He sent the manuscript to Father because he couldn''t figure out what kind of explosives to put in the bomb. He thought maybe Father could make suggestions.

"I don''t mean to tell you I read the book when I was six. We had it around the house for years. My brother Frank made it his personal property, on account of the dirty parts. Frank kept it hidden in what he called his ''wall safe'' in his bedroom. Actually, it wasn''t a safe but just an old stove flue with a tin lid. Frank and I must have read the orgy part a thousand times when we were kids. We had it for years, and then my sister Angela found it. She read it and said it was nothing but a piece of dirty rotten filth. She burned it up, and the string with it. She was a mother to Frank and me, because our real mother died when I was born.

"My father never read the book, I''m pretty sure. I don''t think he ever read a novel or even a short story in his whole life, or at least not since he was a little boy. He didn''t read his mail or magazines or newspapers, either. I suppose he read a lot of technical journals, but to tell you the truth, I can''t remember my father reading anything.

"As I say, all he wanted from that manuscript was the string. That was the way he was. Nobody could predict what he was going to be interested in next. On the day of the bomb it was string.

"Have you ever read the speech he made when he accepted the Nobel Prize? This is the whole speech: ''Ladies and Gentlemen. I stand before you now because I never stopped dawdling like an eight-year-old on a spring morning on his way to school. Anything can make me stop and look and wonder, and sometimes learn. I am a very happy man. Thank you.''

"Anyway, Father looked at that loop of string for a while, and then his fingers started playing with it. His fingers made the string figure called a ''cat''s cradle.'' I don''t know where Father learned how to do that. From his father, maybe. His father was a tailor, you know, so there must have been thread and string around all the time when Father was a boy.

"Making that cat''s cradle was the closest I ever saw my father come to playing what anybody else would call a game. He had no use at all for tricks and games and rules that other people made up. In a scrapbook my sister Angela used to keep up, there was a clipping from Time magazine where somebody asked Father what games he played for relaxation, and he said, ''Why should I bother with made-up games when there are so many real ones going on?''

"He must have surprised himself when he made a cat''s cradle out of the string, and maybe it reminded him of his own childhood. He all of a sudden came out of his study and did something he''d never done before. He tried to play with me. Not only had he never played with me before; he had hardly ever even spoken to me.

"But he went down on his knees on the carpet next to me, and he showed me his teeth, and he waved that tangle of string in my face. ''See? See? See?'' he asked. ''Cat''s cradle. See the cat''s cradle? See where the nice pussycat sleeps? Meow. Meow.''

"His pores looked as big as craters on the moon. His ears and nostrils were stuffed with hair. Cigar smoke made him smell like the mouth of Hell. So close up, my father was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. I dream about it all the time.

"And then he sang. ''Rockabye catsy, in the tree top''; he sang, ''when the wind blows, the cray-dull will rock. If the bough breaks, the cray-dull will fall. Down will come cray-dull, catsy and all.''

"I burst into tears. I jumped up and I ran out of the house as fast as I could go.

"I have to sign off here. It''s after two in the morning. My roommate just woke up and complained about the noise from the typewriter."

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Top reviews from the United States

R. P. Cotta Jr.
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Classic Satire
Reviewed in the United States on July 6, 2018
Okay -- three stars. That''s what I think OTHER readers will think of this book. I think it is worth four stars. But this review is supposed to try and be helpful to you, dear reader, so I do not wish to inflate how good YOU might think this book is. But let''s... See more
Okay -- three stars. That''s what I think OTHER readers will think of this book. I think it is worth four stars. But this review is supposed to try and be helpful to you, dear reader, so I do not wish to inflate how good YOU might think this book is.

But let''s face it: It''s Vonnegut. Satirical. Whimsical. Deadly earnest in a half-joking kind of way. Not particularly optimistic about the future of us People, and not, apparently, particularly fond of us either. Three stars of Vonnegut is worth maybe four stars of Wolfe, maybe five stars of Koontz. Just three stars of Twain, though.

So about this book: it''s a quick read. There are like 127 chapters in the story, but they all fit (in my edition) into just 287 pages. 287 very spacious and roomy pages. The chapters tend to be about a page-and-a-half long, some just a couple of paragraphs. Vonnegut bounces right along, telling the story of John, as John seeks to write a biography of one of the father''s of the atom bomb. (A fictional father.)

The work no doubt contains some of Vonnegut''s more creative ideas: ice-9; Bokononism; Mona Aamons Monzano, the most beautiful girl ever; a completely incomprehensible dialect of what might have once been the English language; and, of course, the end of the World. The story starts out innocently enough, but one thing just leads to the next and the next and before you know it, you will find yourself enmeshed in a world of utter ridiculousness, but you had better take it seriously or you may end up on "the hook." Pronounced "hy-u-o-ook-kuh."

So, not too deep, but deep enough. Not too, too funny, but totally, irreverently so. Not too long, but not too short. You will most likely enjoy this book.
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Adman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Please, teleport me back to 1963
Reviewed in the United States on October 20, 2019
Hey science fiction, please teleport me back to 1963, so I can read in one year, Dune, The Man in the High Castle and Cat’s Cradle. Frankly speaking, I don’t want to sound like the squeaky-rocking-chair-old-man-whining cliché where “those were the days my friend”, but…... See more
Hey science fiction, please teleport me back to 1963, so I can read in one year, Dune, The Man in the High Castle and Cat’s Cradle. Frankly speaking, I don’t want to sound like the squeaky-rocking-chair-old-man-whining cliché where “those were the days my friend”, but… those were the days indeed.

They say Cat’s Cradle is a satirical commentary. I say it is pure prophecy, far more accurate than the technobubble prophecies of our days.

Yes, it is Cat’s Cradle which accurately foreshadowed the Jonestown mass suicide by 15 years.

Yes, it is Cat’s Cradle which put (then respected by a large portion of the human intelligenzia) Mao, Stalin etc in their correct place in human history: targets to be eliminated from humanity’s annals.

And I am afraid, that it will be Cat’s Cradle, predicting, rather accurately, the end of the world by a mysterious “Ice-Nine” substance, now being in its “Ice-Two” or “Ice-Three” version. Hope, this will take some time.

Kurt Vonnegut’s writing feels so natural, as you and me breathing. Yes, this great man was surely exhaling words, sentences, phrases, paragraphs, chapters and whole books, even in his sleep.

I cannot even begin to describe how good and cathartic reading Cat’s Cradle feels. Put in your abandoned island books lists, in your read before dying list, in any list you like. But you should read it.

As for me, I hold to what I said in the beginning. Please, take me back to 1963.
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James B.Top Contributor: Batman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
So it goes again.
Reviewed in the United States on January 10, 2017
Kurt Vonnegut is a man who saw which way the world was turning and was none to pleased by it. This is one of many novels covering his themes of how flawed human society is, regardless of what it tries to pursue. The story follows a reporter named John. John wants... See more
Kurt Vonnegut is a man who saw which way the world was turning and was none to pleased by it. This is one of many novels covering his themes of how flawed human society is, regardless of what it tries to pursue.

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.
37 people found this helpful
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Bryan DesmondTop Contributor: Dragon Ball Z (TV Show)
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
See the cat? See the cradle?
Reviewed in the United States on June 1, 2017
This was technically my second book by Vonnegut -- my first being ''God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian" -- but I consider this to be my real intro to his work, as Kevorkian was rather short and maybe not the best introduction to Kurt''s style. And as far as introductions to... See more
This was technically my second book by Vonnegut -- my first being ''God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian" -- but I consider this to be my real intro to his work, as Kevorkian was rather short and maybe not the best introduction to Kurt''s style. And as far as introductions to prolific authors go, I thought it was excellent. I''m excited to explore Kurt''s catalog after this.

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?
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T. Edmund
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
but I''m pretty confident that was intentionally rather than flawed writing per ...
Reviewed in the United States on June 25, 2018
I''m finding Cat''s Cradle tricky to review. Being the second Vonnegut piece I''ve read (after Slaughter-house Five) I''m in the unusual position of not being too sure what is classic Vonnegut style and what is unique to Cat''s Cradle. Generally the two stories seem... See more
I''m finding Cat''s Cradle tricky to review. Being the second Vonnegut piece I''ve read (after Slaughter-house Five) I''m in the unusual position of not being too sure what is classic Vonnegut style and what is unique to Cat''s Cradle.

Generally the two stories seem similar in intent, Cat''s Cradle dances around politics and religion where Slaughter-house danced around war. The overt plot of Cat''s Cradle is MC Jonah is planning to write a book about the atomic bomb, but ends up experiencing and writing something quite different. The story is presented in short chapters at times leaping through time, but more often leaping through the books of ''Bokonan'' a fictional religion prominent in Cat''s Cradle.

Overall, the book is witty and worthy allegory/satire. At times the writing style (which I can only assume was written to be similar to the Cat''s Cradle - simultaneously complex and pointless) made it hard to really connect with the story and characters fully, but I''m pretty confident that was intentionally rather than flawed writing per se.
9 people found this helpful
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Daniel Conway
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Like zooming out
Reviewed in the United States on November 9, 2017
What a trip of a novel, I won''t go as far as saying it will change your life but you may indeed think about various human institutions in ways you never have before upon its completion. Reading it was an experience, like living in a completely different culture or taking an... See more
What a trip of a novel, I won''t go as far as saying it will change your life but you may indeed think about various human institutions in ways you never have before upon its completion. Reading it was an experience, like living in a completely different culture or taking an acid trip. Its power is not so much in its storyline and plot but in the individual details. It''s like seeing the world reflected in a funhouse mirror, except this bizarre rendering now shows you all the things about religion, science, groupthink etc. you never noticed before. What I love perhaps most is the fact that two people can read this book and walk away with completely different ideas of what this book is trying to do. You could interpret it as being pro-religion or anti-religion, pro-science or anti-science, because the truth is that it is none of these things. It just shows the flaws in our collective conceptions of religion or science, it does not demonize either in and of itself. Truly a remarkable read.
13 people found this helpful
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Roy Murry, Author
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Review of CAT''S CRADLE
Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2018
CAT''S CRADLE KURT VONNEGUT Reviewed by Roy Murry, Author If you want to think and like satire, as I sometimes do, this read is for you. Not the thriller, mystery, or romantic type of novel one usually read. The chapters are short... See more
CAT''S CRADLE

KURT VONNEGUT

Reviewed by Roy Murry, Author

If you want to think and like satire, as I sometimes do, this read is for you. Not the thriller, mystery, or romantic type of novel one usually read.

The chapters are short chunks of defecation on humanity and where it is going - religion is all lies according to his invented religion Bokononism which is a lie too. You will laugh but cry inside. Science sold and manipulated by man will destroy humanity – end of the world.

Global Climate Change has not been invented science yet in 1963 when Cat’s Cradle is published. If Vonnegut were around today, I would think he would be a "denier," based on his opinions within.

Vonnegut''s John is writing a book about one of the men who invented the atomic bomb. In his investigation and interviews with the man''s children and others on an island, he confronts questions of why humanity goes on complicating itself.

When reading this novel, you should have some knowledge of the Cold War to understand Vonnegut''s strong points of view which come through clearly in his dancing around the subjects of why we are who we are. At the time, nuclear war with USSR was near. (North Korea and Iran today?)

This novel is a must-read for people who are intellectuals and those who think they are. Which are you?
4 people found this helpful
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I read it twice in a row
Reviewed in the United States on March 18, 2019
This is now one of my favorite books! There is a strong feeling of disorientation throughout that''s trippy in a good way. I loved the unique narrator POV, as well as the ambiguity throughout. The picture he paints of the war was heartbreakingly beautiful and ugly at the... See more
This is now one of my favorite books! There is a strong feeling of disorientation throughout that''s trippy in a good way. I loved the unique narrator POV, as well as the ambiguity throughout. The picture he paints of the war was heartbreakingly beautiful and ugly at the same time.

It''s a short book, so I read it again immediately and it seemed like a different story, as the time warps weren''t as jarring and I picked up on a lot more subtle comments that change whole scenes.

I realized about 3/4 of the way through that James Franco is the narrator, and that seems appropriate for some reason. I can''t read "So it goes" without it being in his voice, because he performed perfectly that feeling of disconnectedness (apathy?) from the present that is, to me, a big part of the appeal of the book.
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Top reviews from other countries

Yeoman
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The End is Nigh and Darkness Lies Within
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 12, 2020
This is my 12th Vonnegut, one of his own favourite works and lauded as a ''Modern Classic''. Guess what ? I didn''t like it. What we have is a ''road to global oblivion'' warning from KV, very much in line with, as is often correctly stated, Dr Strangelove. Published in 1963 it...See more
This is my 12th Vonnegut, one of his own favourite works and lauded as a ''Modern Classic''. Guess what ? I didn''t like it. What we have is a ''road to global oblivion'' warning from KV, very much in line with, as is often correctly stated, Dr Strangelove. Published in 1963 it was very much of its time - Cuba et al - and pretty much concerns mankind careering towards the end of the world by means of new weaponry (Ice-nine), the industrial complex, ignorance and self-interest. The story is told through a cast of eccentric personalities, typical of all KV''s work, and is largely set on the mythic and very dark Caribbean island of San Lorenzo.. So what''s wrong ? Well, three things. First of all the characters. They just don''t carry the wit and sympathy of those found in the earlier novels (especially the masterly ''Sirens of Titan'') or following novels (such as the masterly ''Slaughterhouse 5''). ''Cats Cradle'' is a transitory work falling between the genres of these other books, ''Titans'' being clear cut Sci-Fi and ''Slaughterhouse'' being pretty much that fantastical description defying invention that was to become Vonnegut''s own personal style. It has always seemed to me that Vonnegut developed the gift of painting the most complex and fullest of characters with the sparsest most basic of palettes. Here it just didn''t work. Secondly, setting. St Lorenzo is dark, brooding and haunting. If it''s meant to be a cartoon representation it failed with me. It''s just too dystopian and this takes it away from the type of slapstick satire that Vonnegut made his own. Thirdly, plot. It''s just too predictable. So, why 4 Stars ? Well, its an important book. Important in terms of the subjects it addresses, important in its place in the counter culture history of the sixties and important in the development of Kurt Vonnegut the satirist. It should be read, just as I had to read ''Howard''s End'' all those year''s ago at college - I didn''t like it but it was good for me. So, buy it and read it because you should. HOWEVER, at all costs do not read the Introduction by Benjamin Kunkel until after you''ve read the book - it''s spoiler laden. Actually, don''t bother with the Introduction at all - it''s awful.
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SGGW
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I am now a Bokononist.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 30, 2020
I had heard of Vonnegut previously but it was only when it was mentioned that Douglas Adams was influenced by him I thought I''d have a read. Very glad I did. This is the one to start with as it''s considered one of his best. I admit the thickness of the book, a novella, as...See more
I had heard of Vonnegut previously but it was only when it was mentioned that Douglas Adams was influenced by him I thought I''d have a read. Very glad I did. This is the one to start with as it''s considered one of his best. I admit the thickness of the book, a novella, as some would term it, was attractive to my mind simply because it was a quick read. It is still relevant considering the spiralling idiocy of the political world. Read it, you will see.
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Captain Book
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Funny and wise.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 1, 2019
I don''t know how I missed this and I wish I''d read it years ago. I don''t think I''ve ever highlighted so many sentences in a book. Ever. Nothing remotely like Dianetics, more like an antidote to L. Ron H type nonsense: “Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and...See more
I don''t know how I missed this and I wish I''d read it years ago. I don''t think I''ve ever highlighted so many sentences in a book. Ever. Nothing remotely like Dianetics, more like an antidote to L. Ron H type nonsense: “Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder ''why, why, why?'' Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he understand.” An absolute delight of a read!
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MR S
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
''See the cat. See the cradle.''
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 23, 2017
Written in Vonnegut''s inimitable nihilistic yet totally wacky style, this is a brilliant quick read that is impossible to put down. Vonnegut was an author who was surrounded by cold war existential dread. Whilst he chooses to scorn this state of affairs through the form of...See more
Written in Vonnegut''s inimitable nihilistic yet totally wacky style, this is a brilliant quick read that is impossible to put down. Vonnegut was an author who was surrounded by cold war existential dread. Whilst he chooses to scorn this state of affairs through the form of satire, the novel often gives way to a deep sense of dread. You can''t help but feel that this book''s relevance is once again making itself obvious. As we move again into a time of great instability and uncertainty, coupled with the great advances we continue to make in the biological sciences, you find yourself simultaneously smirking and shivering at the horrifying yet absurd events that unfold.
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Janie U
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Some great concepts - what an odd mind this author had
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 13, 2014
I''m new to Kurt Vonnegut, having read Slaughterhouse 5 a few years ago and loved it but not really having the urge to read anything else of his at the time. A late night dinner party conversation recently led me back to KV and opinion seemed to be that''s Cats Cradle would...See more
I''m new to Kurt Vonnegut, having read Slaughterhouse 5 a few years ago and loved it but not really having the urge to read anything else of his at the time. A late night dinner party conversation recently led me back to KV and opinion seemed to be that''s Cats Cradle would be a good place to continue my KV reading. As expected, this book plays with the mind from the very beginning - what is truth and what is a lie? Can religion be founded on lies? Who holds the power to end the world? KV opens up his head to the reader through the narrator, Jonah, presenting his ideas and then questioning them in a way which makes you question yourself. Reading the book feels as if you are there with Jonah, experiencing his amazement and revelations as he mets all the bizarre characters and uncovers their stories. Structurally, the book is just over 200 pages long and split into 127 chapters. This helps makes the novel a very accessible read. The style of writing is very straightforward with lots going on below the surface. There are many different levels on which this book can be read and I suspect that everyone will find different ideas in here, many of which the author did not intend at all (this would delight KV I am sure!) And then there''s the plot....... The imagination of the author is amazing. He creates countries, religions and scientific theories during the course of the story and they work wonderfully for most of the book. I felt though that he overused some of the ideas and the ending was dragged out further than it needed. I''m not sure I''ll jump at the idea of reading another of his but I did enjoy the experience.
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