Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut [Traveling Book Review]
This is one of my favorite books in the world, how did it hold up during my re-read?
About the Book
Publisher: Penguin | Release Date: January 1, 1963 | Pages: 306
Genre: Classics, Science Fiction | Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
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 entire planet. The search for its whereabouts leads to Hoenikker’s three eccentric children, to a crazed dictator in the Caribbean, to madness. Felix Hoenikker’s Death Wish comes true when his last, fatal gift to humankind brings about the end, that for all of us, is nigh…
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This is one of my favorite books, and one that I have read countless times since first reading it about 15 years ago. This is my first re-read since becoming a book blogger, and it was very interesting for me to re-read a coveted book of mine with a different lens than I had in the past; it made for an enlightening and new experience reading a book that I am incredibly familiar with.
“Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”
As one of the best satirists of our time, Vonnegut juxtaposes science and religion in Cat’s Cradle. Our narrator Jonah (a likely allusion to Jonah and the whale) – also known as John – investigates the life of the Father of the atomic bomb to write a book and embarks on a journey towards the next man-made destructive event in the form of ice-nine.
“Science is magic that works.”
First published in 1963 during the Cold War and six years before the Moon Landing, Cat’s Cradle takes a look at the destructive creations made by science, the ownership of these products of destruction, and the power relationship in government. The latter of which I find particularly interesting, especially given the context of the world in 1963, as the Republic of San Lorenzo ensures to always have an “enemy” for the people; the constant vilification against religion while holding science to be paramount, and the irony is not lost on the reader when the end comes, as it often does, from scientific discovery.
This is classic Vonnegut with an interesting and unconventional narrative style that readers will either love or hate. While the storytelling and exposition are linear, I think that some readers will struggle for the first 100 pages. I promise that the exposition and seemingly loose threads at the start all do tie together.
This review is the start of the Fall Traveling Book Review, where I am sending my well-loved copy of Cat’s Cradle to eight other bloggers around the world to be read and annotated! I am so excited about this new project, and if you missed out don’t worry, the Winter Traveling Book Review will begin in January. Below are the bloggers that are participating, and I will update this post as their reviews are done! For now, be sure to check out their amazing blogs!
Destiny @ Howling Libraries
Molly @ Molly’s Madness
Rachel @ paceamorelibri
Grey @ Revised Origins
Libby @ Dimscreen
Jo @ Online Blanketfort
Kelsey @ There’s Something About KM
Zoe @ Mythical Reads