Monday, January 24, 2011

Review of Cat's Cradle

Kurt Vonnegut certainly has his own quirky writing style, a really warped view of reality. I would say Cat's Cradle is less in touch with reality than Slaughterhouse Five. Cat's Cradle is written in a tone amused at the strangeness of human beings and the way they interact with the world. Unfortunately, I was never quite sure whether I am getting the joke. Still I found the antics of the naive world-weary main character irresistible.

The story begins with a writer, simply called John, wanting to write a book about how those close to one of the inventors of the atomic bomb, Felix Hoenikker, felt on the day it was dropped on Hiroshima. He interviews strange workmates and even stranger relatives. On the way we discover that Hoenikker has invented an even greater weapon of mass destruction called ice nine.

As John runs around the US and then the world interviewing those close to the scientist, the reader is left wondering what happened to the ice nine and will it be used.

John tells us at the start of the book he is a Bokononist a member of a new religion. The books of Bokonon tells us that "all of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies".

The book has a go at religion, technology and humanities urge to become extinct.

I was reading the book as an ebook and found I had difficulty remembering what some of the made up Bokonon terminology meant. That did subtract somewhat from my enjoyment of the book.

The ending surprised, smacking of futility and the stupidity of humanity.

I think Cat's Cradle is one which I will find myself reflecting on every now and then.


Anthony J Langford said...

Certainly a strange writer.. in a wonderful sense.. his humour and oddness seem to target the malicious and insanity of human nature.. perhaps that was his only way to deal with it..
Slaughterhouse is one of my favourites.. read a few more Vonnegut's - but that still stands out for me..havent read this one though...

Graham Clements said...

I've either read or seen the film of Breakfast of Champions too. I have wondered whether I will end up as a half crazy endlessly rejected writer.