As many of you may know, I am no longer a New Yorker, so please check out my new blog A Library of My Own. If you are just reading Life and Times, you are missing out. Thanks!

Friday, February 6, 2009

1001 Books Update - Cat's Cradle

I just finished reading Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Cat's Cradle, and I'm still not quite sure how I feel about it. This is the first Vonnegut book I've read and I liked it enough to read another one. But I'm still feeling a bit "eh" about it.

This book counts towards my Dystopian Novel Challenge, Carl's Sci-Fi Experience, AND the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die Challenge. I like books that fulfill more than one challenge. Yay!

Ok. Here's the synopsis:

John, a journalist is doing some research for a book about what "regular" people were doing the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. So he writes to and interviews the children of Dr. Hoenikker, one of the big mastermind scientists behind the atomic bomb. Newt, the youngest was just six when the bomb was dropped, but he recalls his dad playing cat's cradle with some string that day.

Honestly, the first part of the novel was the best part. I was really enjoying the story, the writing, even the billion and one chapters because each chapter is only a page or two long. But then John tries to get in touch with the other two children, Angela and Frank. And he finds Frank has become a general with the country of the Republic of San Lorenzo. So he hops on a plane (which happens to also carry Angela and Newt) to find Frank. He also falls in love with a beautiful native of San Lorenzo. And that's when it starts to get weird and drag. He starts writing a bunch about Bokononism, the sort of religion of San Lorenzo. And it's weird. And maybe it's supposed to be funny and sarcastic but it was just kind of silly and weird. And I lost interest.

Oh! And before Dr. Hoenniker died, he had developed a product called Ice-Nine, a blue crystal which if touches water will harden/freeze all the water all over the world. Which of course, in this dystopian novel does happen.

So I think this all probably has a big deep meaning that I'm just not getting. I debated looking online for some discussion questions or something but then didn't.

So if you've read this, what did you think? Is there something I'm missing?

Now for interesting covers.

The cover with the cat's cradle:
This one's kind of a nice with a little montage of scenes:
And covers more about Ice-Nine:


  1. I enjoyed this novel. Like you, I'm sure a ton of deep meaning flew right past me. But when I thought about the ending, it kind of freaked me out, because it seems to me our world is just messed up enough for something to happen that would yield similar results. :-)


  2. I read this soooo long ago I hardly remember it. But I do remember liking it. The one Vonnegut novel that really stuck with me is, for some reason, Hocus Pocus.

  3. I have not read this book, but I did just finish Slaughterhouse Five, which is pretty psychadelic at times. Even though it was only so-so for you, I think I might try it out based on how much I liked Slaughterhouse Five. Thanks for the review!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.