Cat's Cradle
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Cat's Cradle

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  184,415 ratings  ·  5,202 reviews
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.
Paperback, 206 pages
Published December 1st 2008 by Penguin Books (first published 1963)
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(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...more
Manny
Most people have read Cat's Cradle, so I won't bother to try and hide spoilers. Did you say you hadn't read it? Well, what are you waiting for? This isn't Ulysses, you know, it's short and funny! So, now that it's just us people who know the book, I want to say why I disagree with the criticism you often see, that it's too fragmentary. On the contrary, I think it's very focused, and makes its point with near-perfect economy and wit. There are two obvious themes. One is how the irresponsible use...more
sckenda
“When a man becomes a writer, he takes on a sacred obligation to produce beauty and enlightenment and comfort at top speed.” (231)

but....

“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...more
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...more
Killer Rabbit
There is no Easter Bunny. There is no Tooth Fairy. There is no Queen of England...-Titan in Megamind
Kurt Vonnegut lobs Fat Man sized satire bombs at mankind's philosophical and sociological skyscrapers. And that got me imagining how one might create a thoroughly pissed off writer who was capable of producing such inspired lunacy. Here are a few ideas that came to my mind:

1) Give Mark Twain large doses of LSD, and then tell him he can't have any ice cubes for his whiskey unless he writes a story...more
Mike
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...more
Chris
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...more
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...more
Danger
Mar 28, 2011 Danger rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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.
Penny
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...more
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
Bennet
"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
...more
James
Listen:
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...more
Mike
Oct 18, 2008 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
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
Laura
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...more
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
Mike
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?

“He...more
Elze
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....more
Trevor
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kedar
To write a review of this book in three words:
'busy, busy, busy'.
But there is no such restriction, so...

I have a strong belief that Vonnegut was a really baroque spider who weaved webs more intricate than any other. And these cobwebs are not normal ones. They are fractal webs. Designs within designs. The more you understand, the more there is to understand. The deeper you go, the meaninglessness of everything comes about.

Some authors elicit direct questions in the reader's minds. Some elicit que...more
A.J.
Vonnegut had his issues with the science fiction genre--not problems with it, per se, but he resisted the label. He mocked in essay form the endless disputes the folks at the sci-fi lodge have over what is really science fiction? Being that one of my lifelong pet projects has been the war of popular and literary fiction, I can sympathize. On the one hand he published this wonky little book in 1963 when the B-movie schlock and short story rags were a not-so-distant memory. Many an argument over m...more
notgettingenough
A book review.

Modern literature was ruined for me when I was little. It all started with The Magus. What on earth possessed me to pick it up, I have no idea, but I suckered in by the sex and started reading modern literature, pop literature for sex, sex and more sex thereafter. Catch 22 was another which I received favourably at the time. From that rather particular perspective, this book dismally failed.

Reread last week with the maturity I have more recently acquired. Gee it's a good book. No s...more
Inder
I keep coming back to the clarinet solo ... the one transcendent moment in a dark, dark novel. As the week wears on and the existential pain fades, what's left is the near-poetic brilliance.

Dangit: five stars.
___________________________________________

Five stars for near-poetic brilliance, great one-liners, and the skillful crushing (in less than 200 pages!) of my last remaining hopes in God and humanity, minus one star for completely ruining my week.

(Needless to say, this is anything but a ligh...more
Rod
I now regret all those years in which I wasn't reading Vonnegut, because I should have been reading Vonnegut.
Algernon
[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...more
Nikki
Third book for the readathon.

I don't know what went wrong with reading Vonnegut before, but I liked Cat's Cradle a lot more than The Sirens of Titan. The short chapters helped -- I'm guessing some people find it too fragmented, but I found that that helped draw me on. The tone of it helps, too: dry and ironic.

There's something about the background characters, like Bokonon and Hoenikker, that's pretty compelling, too. The idea of ice-nine, and the fake religion that makes so much sense... I remem...more
Amanda
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
Stephen
3.0 stars. Very well written and, at times, extremely funny. I did not love it as I expected to and it may very well be that I just wasn't in the right frame of mind to read Vonnegut. I will probably read it again at some point as I it just didn't move me like I know his work can.

Nominee: Hugo Award for best science fiction novel.
Jon
One of the first books I remember being 'required' to read in school (Middle School to be exact) happened to be Slaughterhouse-Five. Looking back, even though I had been reading at a college level since I reached double-digit age, I probably wasn't ready for the subject matter. Come to think of it, I should probably re-read Vonnegut's most famous novel again, from the other end of three decades of my life gone by. The same could be said for Cat's Cradle, if I had read it back then, but I'm readi...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
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.”
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“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, looked around, and spoke. "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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