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Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  27,473 Ratings  ·  182 Reviews
A critical overview of the work features the writings of Terry Southern, William S. Doxey, Jerome Klinkowitz, Richard Giannone, John L. Simons, James Lundquist, and other scholars.

- After the bomb, Dad came up with ice / Terry Southern
- Vonnegut's Cat's cradle / William S. Doxey
- The private person as public figure / Jerome Klinkowitz
- Cat's cradle / Richard Giannone
- Tang
258 pages
Published December 19th 2002 by Chelsea House Publications (first published June 15th 2002)
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Julia Saboya
Mar 04, 2012 Julia Saboya rated it it was amazing
In the book “Cats Cradle”, Kurt Vonnegut uses discreet humor, irony and his own made up religion, Bokononism to illustrate how science is both helpful and harming. His writing can be confusing to young readers considering his complex references. I ended the book with the realization that a crazy idea formed by a capable and credited person can have the power to demolish the aspects of life as we look at it.

The narrorator of the book, John is in the process of writing a book titled, The Day th
Mason Wampler
Dec 03, 2012 Mason Wampler rated it really liked it
The book starts with John the main character researching about what Americans where doing when the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. While researching this topic, John becomes involved with the children of Felix Hoenikker.John travels to Ilium, New York, to interview the Hoenikker children and others for his book. In Ilium John meets, among others, Dr. Asa Breed, who was the supervisor "on paper" of Felix Hoenikker. As the novel continues , John learns of a substance called ice-nine, created by ...more
Madelaine Cargill
Aug 30, 2011 Madelaine Cargill rated it it was amazing
Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author, and this book is probably the reason behind that. I share many of the same world views as Vonnegut, and his satirical writing style is one I try to imitate. In Cat's Cradle, Vonnegut brings to light world issues such as religion, science, and politics and ties them into an apocalyptic theme. This idea of an apocalypse, in what form it will happen, and how humans will react to it, is one of my favorite things to read and write about. I feel that Vonnegut does ...more
Jan 28, 2015 Sam rated it really liked it
Cat’s Cradle is a 1963 novella written by acclaimed satirist and author Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut, a veteran of the Second World War and researcher at General Electric, drew upon the experiences of horror, monotony, and hope to write many of his works. Cat’s Cradle is what he considered to be his masterpiece: a humorous, nihilistic, and depressing statement about the world and its values during the Cold War. The novella highlights the issues surrounding organized religion and the nuclear Arms Race ...more
Apr 10, 2015 Mark rated it liked it
I don not usually LIKE books of criticism, books by critics, or the nature of criticism in general. Sometimes the search for meaning in books like this is inflated by bogus intellectual constructions which have little bearing on the author's meaning. But, of course, all books are different, and this one was actually enjoyable, although there are many instances of the same passages (from Vonnegut) repeated through and through in different essays appearing here.
I was "turned on" by Vonnegut in 196
May 27, 2013 Paige rated it really liked it
As usual, Vonnegut has provided a thought-provoking commentary on humanity and a possible avenue of its future. I found his use of religion and discussion of very interesting and thought-provoking in my own life. It caused me to really reflect on why I believe what I do and how that affects my way of life. I think this book is also skilled in addressing and identifying ways that religion functions in society, for better or for worse. I love the way Vonnegut writes: a fictitious story in which on ...more
Nov 16, 2012 Vaibhhav rated it really liked it
One of Vonnegut's early and really brilliant works. I know that when reading it, one might think the author disillusioned, but the construct of using a made-up religion to lampoon the trivial nature of human things is genius. It could stand purely on its honesty and self-effacing humour in that regard.
You see the plot through the eyes of an author, and satire spins to black humour to sci-fi, to politics, and finally, raw, relentless humanity.
Judith Furedi
Nov 01, 2013 Judith Furedi rated it really liked it
I remember it as enjoyable and different and part of my required reading. Vonnegut was a writer-in-residence at my college, for a while, and when I met him, he was totally not who I expected. This was one of the classics, though. I would need to re-read it. And so it goes...
Apr 17, 2015 Kristen rated it really liked it
ok so is it just me or is Cat's Cradle some sort of fraternal twin to Slaughterhouse Five?? This is only the second Kurt Vonnegut I've read, but I'm sensing a commmon theme here.... Both of these novels seem to have their most important purpose be to portray the total insignificance of life and the meaninglessness of every part of it. Depressing, right?

Yeah, well Vonnegut (in his special way) manages to make this dark theme come across through satire and a form of comedy which lightens the gener
Jeff Miller
Aug 04, 2011 Jeff Miller rated it really liked it
Having recently re-read Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5 and now having re-read Cat's Cradle their similarities come to the forefront as both novel deal with a writer preparing to right a book on a mass slaughter in WWII. In Slaughterhouse 5 the writer is preparing to write a book about the firebombing of Dresden and in Cat's Cradle the writer is writing a book on the scientists families involved in the Manhattan Project. Though Slaughterhouse descends into a book within a book as it subsequently tel ...more
Jan 08, 2014 Travis rated it really liked it
Fact is allegedly stranger than fiction. With the likes of mad scientists, dancing Ukrainian midgets, possessed clarinet players and granfalloons (you have to read the book to understand the last one) Vonnegut captured this concept in his fable of flawed antiheroes and comedic tragedy.

We follow the path of a journalist, researching the scientist who invented the a-bomb. Curious about how he must have felt on the day it was dropped on Hiroshima, he pursues the orphaned children of said scientist.
Jul 08, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" is engaging and full of small nuggets of wisdom. Although, perhaps that wisdom is that there is no wisdom, as the entire novel is about how "all of true the things I... tell you are shameless lies" (5).

I think that this element, the fact that everything is a lie, is what makes Vonnegut's book interesting. Especially after reading a novel that was written with the idea of multiple stories in mind, this idea that everything is a lie is fascinating. It's fascinating becau
Mar 11, 2010 Drew rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I really enjoyed reading Cat's Cradle. It took about a week to read, the pages turned faster than any book I've read before. The story seems straight forward enough, following an author as he tries to gather information about the creator of the atom bomb, and suddenly takes a turn towards the apocalypse. The book is filled with religious sayings from the religion of this world, and the one towards the end that is a pretty good summary of the book is this:

In the beginning, God created the earth,
Apr 11, 2008 David rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
For a long time, I said I wasn't a fan of Vonnegut. Turns out, I just haven't been in the mood to read him since I last read a book by him, which was something like 8 years ago (although I do remember liking that great "Harrison Bergeron" story). Since them, I've grouped Vonnegut with along with the likes of Hunter S. Thompson and Chuck Palahniuk - mildly entertaining writers who find a core fan base with college guys. You know, frat lit.
I read Cat's Cradle for a class and found myself rolling
May 08, 2008 Allie rated it really liked it
I always love Vonnegut, although. like other reviewers have said, I get the sense that there's something I'm missing as I read. It's the same feeling I got reading The Crying of Lot 49. When you reach the end, you think, "If this is all the book is supposed to mean, then it's sort of a poor excuse for a book." And then you think back on what you read, and it makes you giggle a little, and you think, "Well, even if my conscious brain didn't get it, some part of me did," and you're okay with that. ...more
Dec 06, 2007 Nathanimal rated it it was amazing
This is the book that started it all for me — the seed that grew into my family tree of books. I started reading rapaciously after finishing this book and started wanting to be a writer myself.

Let's take a moment. Repeat after me:

God made mud.

God got lonesome.

So God said to some of the mud, 'Sit up!'

'See all that I've made, the hills, the sea, the sky, the stars.'

And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.

Lucky me, lucky mud.

I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done.

G.G. Donnahue
Jun 28, 2015 G.G. Donnahue rated it it was amazing
Kurt Vonnegut can turn a yarn like nobody else. And this book, the way it seems to meander and grow and loop back on itself only to slam you back into the present was just masterful. But it was also so modern, almost verging on experimental in so many little ways- the poems, the short chapters, the phonetic transcriptions of the dialect of the people of San Lorenzo. Everything about it was so WEIRD.

Honestly, one of my all time favorites. You read this and you know you're reading ART. You know yo
Jenny X
May 18, 2015 Jenny X rated it really liked it
I feel like this novel deserves more stars than I gave it. Before taking any of my opinions into account, I just want to note that I an wholly aware of the fact that I am an ignorant high schooler. In many more ways than one, this novel was just too smart for me. While it's true I enjoyed the dark humor and the irony of the book itself, I fear a large chunk of the cleverness escaped me. I didn't like it enough to give it five stars, yet, at the same time, I feel that if I were more experienced, ...more
May 07, 2015 Sandra rated it liked it
Very entertaining, funny and gritty. I found it interesting that most of the situations were timeless. Had I read this in the 70s, I would have not found its humor.

The ending, however, was a little bland. I'm sure Vonnegut would have said it was suppose to have been bland, but I wonder if it was just being lazy... which I'm sure Vonnegut would have said, he was suppose to be lazy. The point was that it was pointless, etc. So 60s (yawn) I'm sure it was cutting edge in the day.

Three stars for the
Mar 03, 2009 Tom rated it really liked it
This book is typical Kurt Vonnegut, which is good for him and better than many other authors. All of Vonnegut's favorite themes are here: the stupidity of war, the stupidity of organized religion, and the stupidity of humans. While I recommend it, Slaughterhouse Five is a much better read and accomplishes the same point in a finer manner.
Jeevitha Balakrishnan
May 15, 2015 Jeevitha Balakrishnan rated it really liked it
A unique read and my first attempt on Kurt Vonnegut's.

I loved the concept of self-made religion- Bokononism and the foma that made so much sense. The way the author juxtaposes science and religion is thought provoking. Few pages on, the simplest explanation of 'ice-nine' to Jonah, blew my mind! Although, bits and pieces of his writing was difficult to comprehend, the book is an interesting read and the climax (apocalypse) is frightening.

Kurt Vonnegut is a genius. He is admirable for his human w
Leah Marie isaac
Dec 03, 2013 Leah Marie isaac rated it really liked it
I just reread this book; it's been on my top five favorites list for over a decade and needed to be refreshed. My memory seems to have played it up in my mind because Bokononism (while it was my official Facebook profile religion for a few years) is not as clever as I remembered. The characters were still classically flawed and utterly, accurately human in their inhumanity. A book you put down and at the end say, "That's a grotesque definition of our race. But completely true."
Karen Cotton
Jul 03, 2007 Karen Cotton rated it it was amazing
Cat's Cradle explores the debate between science and religion. Written in 1963, Vonnegut satirises the Arms race along with many other subjects. The author introduces the reader to Bokonism and the fantastic language and ideas associated with it. The notion of a karass is presented as a group of people who, often unknowingly, work together to do God's will. While I'm not usually a fan of anything along the lines of science fiction, the fascinating story and concepts kept me riveted.
Apr 23, 2012 Michellerun rated it it was ok
I can't get into this book. I have tried several times now over the past 10 years. This is the furthest I have ever gotten. I loved Vonnegut's Slaughter-House Five and thought this would be a great Classic to read but I am dissapointed- I just don't get it. Maybe its over my head and requires a reader with a high IQ. I am shelving this book for retirement when I have the patience to focus on it.
Jan 15, 2009 Asho rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-we-own
This was my first time reading Vonnegut. I really enjoyed the one-liners in this book, to the point that I'm thinking about going back and making a list of some of my favorites. This book manages to address the futility of human life and make the subject almost cheerful. Although I'm not sure that I would classify it as one of the greatest books of all time, I found it quirky and clever and am looking forward to reading more from Kurt Vonnegut.
Mark Gandolfi
Apr 08, 2012 Mark Gandolfi rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
I first read this twenty years ago and have just re-read it.

Not in the same class as Slaughterhouse Five, but classic Vonnegut satire nonetheless. Bokonism is definitely a religion for 2012!

You have to read all of Vonnegut to get a perspective on what he was about, Do that and you will be rewarded with a glimpse into a strange mind, much like the mind of Philip K. Dick, another of my favourites.

Worth reading, but read after Slaughterhouse 5 and you will see what I mean.
Mar 14, 2010 Ashley rated it liked it
Well, Kurt is definitely one of those authors that you love or you hate. Questionably, though, i am neither. I can withstand his books, but this one just caught attention. I liked this story, it was a bit confusing at first but you catch on. The science he uses is actually incorrect but he probably didn't know this at the time. Overall it was alright book, but i didn't see the point in writing it.
Jun 26, 2012 Candy rated it it was amazing
After reading this book, I have to say that Kurt Vonnegut has unusual talent. I couldn't really accept his writing style at first, but gradually got used to it and find it extraordinarily amusing. This book is about technology, religion, human beings, and end of the world. Although the whole story seems to be nonsense, it actually foreshadows the direction the world is heading. Moreover, it is a clever satire on human beings and their insanity/stupidity of the twentieth century.
Dustin Underwood
May 10, 2007 Dustin Underwood rated it liked it
It seems like most people rate this as the novel and not the Lit Crit book? Regardless, there are several essays that I enjoyed in here, but many read more like a NYTimes book review and others presented arguments that seemed weak or not engaging.

If you have a passing knowledge of Vonnegut's early life story, probably 30% of the essays can be skipped. If not, then they are probably quite useful.
Jul 21, 2007 aisha rated it it was ok
i read this awhile ago - maybe five, six years.

as of right now, this is the only vonnegut novel i've read...and i'm not a fan.

there is a very large possibility that i completely missed the whole novel. when i finished, i had no urge to ever pick up a vonnegut novel again.

i know that the previous statements may threaten some of my friendships, but i must be honest.
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Bloom is a literary critic, and currently a Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University. Since the publication of his first book in 1959, Bloom has written more than 20 books of literary criticism, several books discussing religion, and one novel. He has edited hundreds of anthologies.
More about Harold Bloom...

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