ê Cat's Cradle ¿ Download by · Kurt Vonnegut A group read with the following wonderful people Ashley and Erin Please let me know if I missed somebody.
Before I start talking about the plot let me give you a piece of advice If after you finish reading this one the first question that comes to your mind would be , WTF did I just read it is perfectly normal and common You can imagine now how easy is it to discuss the plot Anyhow, Dr Felix Hoenikker happened to be one of the founding fathers of the atomic bomb The MC named John whose name comes up exactly once decided forced hired given a job to write a book about him At this point I have to stop and ask the following question I am going to do it lots of times here as everybody and their brother know it took a lot of brilliant scientists to develop the bomb How comes in the book Dr Felix Hoenikker was held solely responsible for it This is a very serious question as two such bombs were used to kill a lot of civilians some of them died fast, some slowly and painfully To continue my serious questions I am quite curious at the moment were the people who created it able to sleep at night peacefully after they learned how the first couple of their creations were used I really hope that pesky little thingy called conscience bothered them at least a little and at least sometimes.
Anyhow John interviewed relatives, colleagues, and neighbors of the good inventor learning and about him The guy was weird David Lynch type weird and so is the tale For the first half I was fascinated by weirdness and mad glimpses at the mind of a genius In the second half it all went to hell The weirdness increased tenfold, the tale became disjoint and well weird this time in the bad sense I can tell exactly the moment it happens when John arrived to St Lorenzo And thus I was sure I could rate the book with 4 stars adding my voice to the chorus of countless book fans It was supposed to be funny I did not think so but it surely was witty and I loved some of the quotes How about this oneMaturityis knowing what your limitations areMaturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anythingUnfortunately during the second part I had a serious internal struggle not to DNF the book At least now I know why pseudo intellectual hipster snobs hold Vonnegut in such high regard I have to say that quite a few normal people like it too From my side I will read other works of Vonnegut before now I only read some of his short stories that were perfectly normal and thus not as well known The book is not hopeless by all means and fully deserves 3 stars I am glad I read it, but I have no desire whatsoever to reread it even if it would be the last book left in the world P.
S What s up with Vonnegut s fascination with midgets Vonnegut s best Many will say that it is and who am I to disagree It does include all the best elements of Vonnegut in his genius humor, dark and subtle, and sometimes not subtle at all, irreverence, absurdity blended with realism to create a surrealistic setting where the reader is cautiously intrigued by whatever is going on And the messages and themes, of love, relationships, responsibility, both internally and globally Also, like several of his endearing works, this one remains thought provoking years after being read, a quasi morality play that the reader will revisit often and sometimes with little coaxing 2018 addendum it is a testament to great literature that a reader recalls the work years later and this is a book about which I frequently think The great takeaway from this one is not so much ice nine, although that is certainly memorable, but Bokonon and most specifically the beautiful Mona A treatise on Bokononism and its effect on SF since, both in its facial aspect as well as Vonnegut s use as a satire on religion could and should be explored.
I ve read this book four times It s better than the Bible, because unlike the Bible, this book knows it s fiction.
there are probably as many reviews of Cat s Cradle as there are stars in the sky, so no doubt there s little i can add that s of any value who cares i love hearing myself talk, so let s go for it well, this is harder than i thought it s as easy as describing why i love my favorite pillow or threadbare t shirt, or why i like rainy days as much as sunny days okay, here goes the inventiveness of Cat s Cradle and its bleak, absurd humor was incredibly eye opening to me in high school and it practically provided a template for how i looked at things in college, it was a joy to return to, particularly after the tedious nonsense foisted upon me in various classes well, in time, i grew to love all the tedious nonsense foisted upon me, but that was years later, and besides the point after college, it defined the outlook of almost everyone i knew around me, and i remember bothering folks to read it so that they could understand some of my references, or so that they could read their own worldview, in book form when i said things like impaled on a giant hook or i want to read your index , folks had no clue about what i was talking about i guess that s why i eventually stopped saying those phrases.
and back to the book Cat s Cradle it has warmth and anger and wisdom and an almost naive kind of brashness at times i love that combo favorite character cynical young Philip Castle do gooder, sarcastic asshole, painter, owner of a hotel that scorns snobs and is therefore pretty empty i love you, Philip Castle my second fictional crush slash look, i see myselftype character Holden Caulfield came first and Donnie Darko eventually replaced you but you were the dreamiest.
Hasty and jokey, Cat s Cradle begins as a satire about a journalist s attempt to investigate the life of one of the creators of the atomic bomb, but ends as a bleak allegory about the annihilation of life on earth Vonnegut s irreverent wit and straightforward prose make his work a useful gateway to adult fiction for teens, and this novel ranks amongst his best Adults who never encountered Vonnegut s books during their youth, by contrast, might find the book s pessimism or its hyper episodic structure to be a bit tedious.
Another review in the KISS series Keep It Short, Steve In Anne Fadiman s superb book about books called Ex Libris, she divides readers into two categories those who keep their books in pristine condition courtly lovers and those who delight in marginalia carnal lovers I started out as one of the former conditioned, no doubt, by fear of library fines , but became one of the latter Cat s Cradle was my first prurient experience, dating back to high school Part of the reason was that I snagged my copy at a garage sale for a dime cheap even then But the real motivation was to highlight this great little rhyme 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.
That one deserved stars, a yellow marker, and the granddaddy of all desecrations a dog ear I liked how it was framed as such a natural conclusion to the activity of thinking We tell ourselves that our efforts to understand have paid off If I m honest, I don t recall much of the book s premise I remember thinking Vonnegut was one of those cool, sort of counter cultural writers who wielded his satirical axe well He may have been a bit darker than Tom Robbins, and less playful with his words, but he was similarly entertaining, incisive and free wheeling The book tracks the unusual offspring of the man who invented the A bomb They possess a substance called ice nine that can make water freeze at room temperatures And you can imagine what might happen if it fell into the wrong hands The Russians and Americans procured some as did the dictator of a secluded Caribbean island where a religion called Bokononism is practiced despite being illegal and, according to Bokonon himself, based on lies Still, anything that sells living by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy will have its appeal.
Vonnegut would poke fun at religion, politics, and just about any other human institution where our base natures hide in some gussied up form And he may well have had a point If I remember this cautionary tale correctly, a follow up poem of my own might apply Monkey got to play, fish got to swim Man got to risk his life to some psycho s whim.
Monkey got to doze, fish got to coast Man got to rest assured he won t become a ghost.
And it may give us pause.
427 Cat s Cradle, Kurt VonnegutCat s Cradle is the fourth novel by American writer Kurt Vonnegut, first published in 1963 It explores issues of science, technology, and religion, satirizing the arms race and many other targets along the way After turning down his original thesis in 1947, the University of Chicago awarded Vonnegut his master s degree in anthropology in 1971 for Cat s Cradle At the opening of the book, the narrator, an everyman named John but calling himself Jonah , describes a time when he was planning to write a book about what important Americans did on the day Hiroshima was bombed While researching this topic, John becomes involved with the children of Felix Hoenikker, a Nobel laureate physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb John travels to Ilium, New York, to interview the Hoenikker children and others for his book 2011 1383 406 1386 1392 1394 9789643691615 20 1383 375 9643800385 1963 1964 I loved this book It turned out to be one of those easy to read stories that leave you thinking, and thinking, and thinking The science fiction aspect of the plot is not important at all It is the impact of power, knowledge and ritual on every single individual that made me want to restart reading it as soon as I finished I absolutely adore the creation of Bokononism and the development of a new language to suit the needs of the religion in the making.
Margaret Atwood s MaddAddam experiments with the same kind of post apocalyptic scenario and the never ending question of what humanity needs to survive Of course Vonnegut s vision is a lot darker than Atwood s Humanity wiped out completely on a whim, no hope of reproducing our species at all, the only question remaining is how to die and what symbol to carry in your hand to show the hated and hating creator above.
The experience of being trapped in Dresden as an American prisoner of war during the bombing and destruction of the city might have formed the sense of absurdity that Vonnegut displays in his vision of mankind.
To put it in Bokononist words the cruel paradox of the heartbreaking necessity of lying about reality combined with the heartbreaking impossibility of lying about it is at the center of the book Foma
The second theme is presented through Bokononism, a kind of Caribbean version of Christianity, and surely the best fictional religion ever devised Is there any person here who s never tried boku maru Unfortunately, in real life it doesn t have the effect described in the book Pity Bokononism is the one thing that makes life worthwhile for Papa s miserable subjects Officially, the religion is outlawed in practice, everyone is a Bokononist, which makes their lives rich and meaningful Everything about the religion turns out to be a lie, and there is even a technical term, foma, for the lies that make up its substance None the less, Vonnegut succeeds admirably in showing what a good religion it is The scene where Dr Schlichter von Koenigswald reads the Bokonist last rites to the dying Papa Monzano is funny, but also moving I love the line Nice going, God , which expresses that particular sentiment with unusual clarity and feeling it s extremely respectful, while pretending to be the exact opposite.
So, what is the connection between the two themes I think in fact that Vonnegut tells you straight out, but since he does it at the beginning a favorite ruse of crime writers , you don t quite notice it He introduces Bokononism, and recounts its creation myth, which is absurd even by the standards of this magic realist genre Then he cheerfully tells you that Bokonon himself admits that it s all lies Finally, he comments, in one of his better known quotes Anyone unable to understand how a useful religion can be founded on lies will not understand this book either As already noted, Bokonon s wise lies in fact make an excellent religion.
Here s what I think he means by this The potential destruction of all life on Earth isn t a very amusing subject It s so horrifying that you can hardly think about it at all But Vonnegut manages to present most of the book as a comedy, so that you are able to think about it, which we desperately need to do before it s all too late By making it funny, he is formally lying to us, but these lies are useful to us than the truth we re in pretty much the same situation as the San Lorenzans, who couldn t survive without their mendacious religion People during the Cold War were, with good reason, scared shitless that the world was going to end soon in a nuclear holocaust We came terrifyingly close during the Cuba Missile Crisis As Christopher Hitchens says, do you remember where you were the day JFK nearly killed all of us There were many books and movies intended to help people relate to what was going on Some of them just presented the threat straight up, in as realistic a way as they could manage the version I like most is Shute s On the Beach But I would say that the mirror reversed ones, like Cat s Cradle and Doctor Strangelove, were better It s amazing how powerful a weapon humor is I feel they did to help persuade us not to blow ourselves up We need these people badly if we re going to stay sane Can someone point me to a new Vonnegut, who knows how to make us laugh at global warming and the financial meltdown I d rather like to read him.
Told With Deadpan Humour And Bitter Irony, Kurt Vonnegut S Cult Tale Of Global Destruction Preys On Our Deepest Fears Of Witnessing Armageddon And, Worse Still, Surviving It Dr Felix Hoenikker, One Of The Founding Fathers Of The Atomic Bomb, Has Left A Deadly Legacy To The World For He S The Inventor Of Ice Nine , A Lethal Chemical Capable Of Freezing The Entire Planet The Search For Its Whereabouts Leads To Hoenikker S Three Ecentric Children, To A Crazed Dictator In The Caribbean, To Madness Felix Hoenikker S Death Wish Comes True When His Last, Fatal Gift To Humankind Brings About The End, That For All Of Us, Is Nigh