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Cat's Cradle

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  225,538 ratings  ·  6,292 reviews
Told with deadpan humour & bitter irony, Kurt Vonnegut's cult tale of global destruction preys on our deepest fears of witnessing Armageddon &, 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 entir
Paperback, 179 pages
Published 1999 by Penguin (first published 1963)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lorenzo Berardi
There are two voices inside my head. Let's call them Lore and Enzo. At the moment L & E are quarreling on Cat's Cradle.

L) Oh come on! This book is wonderful. Perhaps it's the best novel Vonnegut has ever written.
E) Are you kidding me? Have you read the whole of it?
L) Of course I've read it from its first word to the very last one.
E) And haven't you noticed anything strange?
L) What are you talking about?
E) I mean, you know, it's a discontinuous novel. I can't deny it has a great beginni
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Sckenda
“When a man becomes a writer, he takes on a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed.” (231)


“I am about to do a very un-ambassadorial thing. I’m about to tell you what I really feel.”(253)

“Life is funny sometimes and sometimes it isn’t.” This 1963 black comedy tells the story of John (“Call me Jonah”), a freelance writer who is working on a non-fiction book entitled, “The Day the World Ended,” about the day the nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. H
mark monday
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
Mar 28, 2011 Danger rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ugly children, most plant-life, human beings, and members of ABBA
I've read this book four times. It's better than the Bible, because unlike the Bible, this book knows it's fiction.
Dan Schwent
When he embarks on a project to write a book about the creators of the atomic bomb, Jonah has no idea what he's going to unearth: Dr Felix Hoenikker and Ice-Nine, a substance that will instantly freeze any water it comes into contact with into more Ice-Nine, a substance capable of destroying all life on earth. Can Jonah find the missing Hoenikker children and secure their chips of Ice-Nine to safeguard the world?

Here we are, my second experience with Kurt Vonnegut and one of his Big Important Bo
Nothing in this review is true.

As much as I enjoy reading Vonnegut, one of the nagging little doubts I always have is that I'm missing something. That there's a hidden message in there that I'm not picking up on. Or, on the other hand, that I am picking up messages that just aren't there.

Which is, perhaps, the point of the whole book.

The world is full of lies. Good lies, bad lies and indifferent lies, but lies nonetheless, and we pick and choose the lies that make our lives happiest. The lie tha
Jennifer (aka EM)
This was a difficult re-read. In the flush of youth, when I first read it (at my cynical, pessimistic - and arrogant - peak), every line spoke to me. Now, I am amazed at how flimsy the story, and how brittle and bleak - but oh-so-deeply entrenched - is the cynicism. I don't remember it that way. Today, it made me deeply, almost unbearably sad to think that the world - that I - felt so aligned with the dominant worldview of this novel. It still speaks to me, but it says different things.

I haven't
Cat's Cradle: Vonnegut's String Game

 photo CatsCradle1963_zpsdaf7b2ad.jpg
Cat's Cradle, First Edition,Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Published in 1963, "Cat's Cradle" is Kurt Vonnegut's fourth novel. I consider it one of the great satirical works of the 20th Century. Often referred to as a modern Mark Twain, Vonnegut's view of American society more fully embraces a society and its group values, while Twain's targets for his biting wit were more specifically aimed, although with the same verve and joy in the revelation of the foibles of l
Linda Hopf
I stopped at page 175 and I have NEVER done that. I never give up on books I start. This book made me re-think that practice. Normally, even if I do not like a book, I can find something about it to keep me going but with Cat's Cradle I just had to quit. I need to feel something - curiousity, irritation, sadness, happiness, love, desire, anger, escapism, like I am learning something new, that I need the lesson this book is offering... whatever. I need to connect to the book, the story, the chara ...more
I struggled a bit with this one. Kurt Vonnegut's writing is always a little unusual but this book seemed to be excessively disjointed and rambling. I felt my brain wandering off into more interesting thoughts and had to keep rereading bits. Keeping track of all the characters' names was hard too. Not a successful read for me I am afraid.
Although I found the ending rather abrupt, I thought this was a fantastic book! The style of short chapters was unusual but fit well with the narration.

The story is told from the point of view of a writer John (or Jonah) who has converted from Christianity to Bokononism and is attempting to write a book about the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. He meets many weird characters (or members of his karass) along the way and describes among other things, his journey to Bokononism.

I thou
Jan 10, 2015 Paul rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: satire
4.5 stars
Rather funny and biting satire on religion, politics and the possibility of humanity managing to destroy the world; written at about the time of the Cuban missile crisis. It is narrated by John, who is also the main protagonist. There is a Moby Dick reference right at the beginning when John says “Call me Jonah”.
John is writing a book about what famous Americans did on the day the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. He is interested in Dr Felix Hoenikker who had been involved in the developm
“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.”

You must have already come across this quote somewhere I'm sure. But if not, then come, let's bask in the glory of its supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (:D) wisdom. After reading my second Vonnegut, I could only fathom one feeling for us humans in this vast unending universe: Pity. Don't these lines elucidate just how miserable we really ar
MJ Nicholls
The best way to cure Reader’s Block is to reread authors whose works induce chest pains of happiness in one’s . . . chest, so I did this with Mr. Vonnegut this afternoon. Sadly, upon rereading Cat’s Cradle, which I first tackled in 2007 at the summit of Arthur’s Seat as a love-drunk twenty-year-old starting to lick the world’s honeyest creases after a period of long-term depression, I was more disappointed than delighted. I suspect this book is read largely in one’s teens when confronting the va ...more
Although I've only yet read three of his novels, I would be surprised if Cat's Cradle isn't Kurt Vonnegut's greatest masterpiece. It can be very difficult to rate Vonnegut's work, as his books are so easily enjoyable and his flippant sarcasm, through which he makes light of such matters as Armageddon, could give the impression that he shouldn't be taken seriously as an artist (he certainly isn't taking himself seriously). However, this meditation on science's role in man's eventual destru
"But what?" he said. "But what?"

He went to a window looking out at the cemetery gate. "But what," he murmured at the gate and the sleet and the Hoenikker shaft that could be dimly seen.

"But," he said, "but how the hell innocent is a man who helps make a thing like an atomic bomb? And how can you say a man had a good mind when he couldn't even bother to do anything when the best-hearted, most beautiful woman in the world was dying for lack of love and understanding . . ."

He shuddered. "Sometimes
One of my cat's favourite places to sleep around the family home in winter (since hot air rises).
Cat's Cradle

Her name is Chabo. 12 years old as of October 4th.

3.5 stars.
Oct 18, 2008 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: please, everyone read this
This, along with The Joke and The Trial (and maybe some others I've forgotten), is one of the few books I've read the most--4 or 5 times (again, maybe I've forgotten now and the number is higher).

Slaughterhouse Five may be a haunting, beautifully constructed, masterpiece of literature (and it is), but Cat's Cradle is, I think, a true work of genius. I don't believe that it is possible to so perfectly articulate care for, disappointment in, laughter at, anger towards, and care again for humanity
Steve Lowe
I've read Cat's Cradle about four or five times now, but it's been several years, so I felt it was time for a refresher. It's still one of my favorites of Vonnegut's, and I took something new from it this time. This was from early in his career, so he's not compltelely jaded yet (or at least this story doesn't read like he is). He's got some clear thoughts on religion and both its usefulness and uselessness. Bokononism defines itself as a "pack of lies" but then goes into great detail to describ ...more
To begin with, did I like the book? I certainly did, as it was entertaining, delightfully light-hearted and irreverent, with an interestingly outlandish plot and equally absurd characters.

How about the quality of the writing? Call me a purist, but the use of fabricated dialects and invented vocabulary left a bad taste in my mouth. On the up-side, Vonnegut’s use of poetry as comic relief was novel and amusing, and his self-mocking aphorisms are definitely quotable. I took pause to think of how f
Cat's Cradle: Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature

Like all of Kurt Vonnegut’s books, Cat’s Cradle (1963) is very easy to read but fiendishly difficult to review. It’s basically about two main themes: 1) Some scientists are completely unconcerned with what their research and inventions are used for, as long as they given the opportunity to pursue their own research. 2) Religion is a bunch of lies, but at the same time it can ma
Peer pressure is a terrible thing, Cat’s Cradle is highly rated by people I respect, especially my GR friends, I went into it with much enthusiasm, half hoping for one of those “all-time greats” reads. However, life is full of surprises, and not in a good way on this occasion. It is easy to dismiss books like Twilight or 50 Shades in spite of their blockbusting best seller status because I don’t actually know anybody who like them! With a book like Cat’s Cradle it makes me doubt my own discernme ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marc Kozak
I have always irrationally maintained that the cure for things like cancer and AIDS is inevitably going to be something really stupid. We just haven't combined all of the things on Earth together yet. One day, someone will accidentally combine pineapple extract and motor oil, and that blend will fall into a vat of paint, and somehow that cures cancer. Seriously, somebody try that. Just in case.

That being said, Cat's Cradle suggests the other side of that idea, which is that somebody might accide
[9/10] an impressive achievement. I came to the story with a fresh mind, having intentionally avoided discussions and spoilers and with little previous experience of Vonnegut opus (I think I have only read The Sirens of Titan long before this, and thought it was OK in a Golden Age of SF way)

I find it incredible how modern and connected to 2011 issues the story feels. For most of the first half of the book I wondered why this is considered SF, as it dealt mostly with social commentary and charact
Nov 23, 2012 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Ah, “Cat’s Cradle”, once again a fellow goodreader has reminded me of a book I read back in the time when pterodactyls flew. During and after the age of the Thunder Lizards, I read many books by Kurt Vonnegut, eventually “catching up” so that I had to wait for newly written ones to uncover more of his imagination. Being a greedy sort, I have re-read his older works once, twice, perhaps even several times. To this day he remains one of my favorite authors.

How can you not like a man who wrote?

It's been a long time since I enjoyed a book so much. It's strange to say that, because overall I didn't find its conclusion satisfying. However, it's written so well I enjoyed every sentence. Every paragraph, every little episode had something that spoke to me, whether I agreed with it or not. It's a rare experience.

It's too bad I read Kurt Vonnegut for the first time at the age of 12-13. I'm not sure if I read Cat's Cradle or some other books, but they seemed just plain weird and boring to me.
I recently reread this for book club as well and was once again blown away by the inventiveness, the absurdity, and the wit of Vonnegut. What seems on the surface to be a ridiculously implausible plot reveals some deeper observations on religion, society's mores, and humanity's baser (and, occasionally, finer) qualities. Cat's Cradle is an entertaining satire that makes me want to alternately laugh out loud at the stupidity of mankind and weep when I realize how close to home Vonnegut's observat ...more
Please don’t put make your students suffer through this trainwreck. In any form. Not as a book club book, not as a whole class text, not independently. If someone asked for a proper summary of “Cat’s Cradle,” I wouldn’t be able to provide one. Do you know why? It’s plotless! It’s conflictless! Yes, there is a unique, otherworldly set of characters. But what happens with them? Hell if I know! I didn’t even know how I felt while reading the book! Sure, it was interesting (I guess), but did I like ...more
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Kurt Vonnegut, Junior was an American novelist, satirist, and most recently, graphic artist. He was recognized as New York State Author for 2001-2003.

He was born in Indianapolis, later the setting for many of his novels. He attended Cornell University from 1941 to 1943, where he wrote a column for the student newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. Vonnegut trained as a chemist and worked as a journali
More about Kurt Vonnegut...

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“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.”
“In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.

And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.

"Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.

"Certainly," said man.

"Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.

And He went away.”
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