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Cat's Cradle

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  352,039 ratings  ·  11,545 reviews
Same ISBN as this.

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 o
Paperback, 287 pages
Published 2010 by Dial Press (first published 1963)
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Laurel Profanity is not the issue. Vonnegut is writing about big themes, never more important than today when the ice caps melt, the seas rise, and the fores…moreProfanity is not the issue. Vonnegut is writing about big themes, never more important than today when the ice caps melt, the seas rise, and the forests burn. An intelligent teen wouldn't be put off by a few "swear words." Neither should their adult guides.(less)

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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 beginning,
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  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. ...more
Vit Babenco
Apr 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Progress: scientific revolution, revolution number nine, ice-nine… Science is neutral and it may serve evil as readily as good…
After the thing went off, after it was a sure thing that America could wipe out a city with just one bomb, a scientist turned to Father and said, ‘Science has now known sin.’ And do you know what Father said? He said, ‘What is sin?’

Some invent powerful explosives and some invent new religions and it is hard to say which invention is more dangerous.
Well, when it became ev
Ahmad Sharabiani
(427 From 1001) - Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut

Cat'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 Jona
Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 more endearing works, this one remains tho
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
Leonard Gaya
Mar 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Cat’s Cradle (1963) is perhaps less famous than Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). It is also less complex, less pomo in style, less “busy, busy, busy”, as Bokonon would say. In short, less of a cat’s cradle. But there is a certain quality to this book that makes it one of Vonnegut’s most profound and enjoyable novels. For the most part, the plot is fairly linear and arranged in the classical form of a Swiftian-Voltairian fable. It is told by a first-person narrator/writer/protagonist (“Call me Jonah”, ...more
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recs
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 st ...more
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 sna
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 experiment
Oct 08, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: could-not-finish
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
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
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 (whos
Dan Schwent
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
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
Jan 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
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
Brett C
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kurt-vonnegut
Unfortunately I had to power through this one. This is my fourth Kurt Vonnegut story and I think he's written better books. He does a good job of creating black humor with the use of technology and religion. The overall theme was the fatalistic warning of the misuse of technology.

The second theme was the danger of blindly following religious precepts. I am a religious and spiritual person but I interpreted this book as the dangers of fundamentalism when religion goes off the deep end. In the bo
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
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
Jul 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Update: I decided to upgrade the rating to 5*. When trying to "sell" the book to my father I realized how much I enjoyed this.

The last time I read more than one book by the same author in one year was probably in high-school. I usually prefer to read as diverse as possible, even if I lean toward a certain genre. Saying that, I read two Kurt Vonnegut books in six months and I do not regret my deviation from the norm. I think I might be turning into a Vonnegut fan.

I do not know what it is so spe
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, aere-perennius
"...for the quotation captured in a couplet the cruel paradox of Bakononist thought, the heartbreaking necessity about lying about reality, and the heartbreaking impossibility of lying about it.

Midget, midget, midget, how he struts and winks,
For he knows a man's as big as what he hopes and thinks!

-- Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle


I first read this in 9th grade. The grade my two kids are right now. Life has a way of making you feel both old and insignificant. When I first read this book I was focus
Dave Schaafsma
“Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”

Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, one of the great anti-war novels of all time, is based on Vonnegut’s own experience as a soldier during WWII in the bombing and destruction of Dresden. The book is darkly funny, veering into science/speculative fiction, but underneath it all is barely contained rage and despair at the stupidity of the human race, especially with respect to the conduct of war and the destruction of c
Jun 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.
Cat's Cradle ~~ Kurt Vonnegut

Buddy read with Aesaan

I've told this story before, but it bears repeating. My junior year of college, I had a roommate, Don, his nickname was Har Don ~~ which he hated; Har Don loved Kurt Vonnegut ~~ no, he worshiped Kurt Vonnegut. It’s ironic since everything Har Don believed in was the antithesis of what Vonnegut stood for. Har Don insisted I read Vonnegut's SLAPSTICK. He told me it w
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Megan Baxter
Nov 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is it about Vonnegut's authorial voice? It's simultaneously wry and tender, sarcastic and gentle. I don't know of any other authors that can manage that particular combination. And here, writing about the end of the world in so many different ways, it is on full display.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Think what a paradise this world would be if men were kind and wise.

In 1963, when this book first came out, the world was still unclenching after the Cuban Missile Crisis. The nervy terror beneath the posturing of the Cold War is writ large here, and in cartoon colours; indeed the very name of the Cold War finds a deadly literality in Vonnegut's ‘ice-nine’, the chemical compound that will destroy all life on earth. Vonnegut's tone – a desperate hilarity which, I think, reflects real fear – has s
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, classic, library, kindle
Bizarre, irreverent, dark, witty, funny, cynical, thoughtful, creative, and one heck of a ride!

I am not sure exactly what I just read, but I think I like it!
Ms. Smartarse
Originally published as Cat's Cradle.

John had "only" wanted to write an account of the day the atomic bomb had dropped over Hiroshima. He had been diligently gathering data for it, even going so far as contacting the chief scientist's youngest son. And what a story that avenue had revealed! But... that had been 2 wives, 250,000 cigarettes, 3,000 quarts of booze... and a different religion ago. He's a Bokononist now. A much more sarcastic, realistic-sounding, but also a shameless lie of a religio
“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
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
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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

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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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