Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

just finished reading Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. An amazing piece of literature.

Here is my formal review of the book:

Book Title: Cat’s Cradle

Author: Kurt Vonnegut

Genre: Science Fiction


The mixing of religion and politics into an unholy, macabre government is an all too familiar concept that has been harped upon by the indian media and press thoughout the last decade or so. Yet, none have come close to illustrating the utopia in such a setup like Vonnegut has in his book, Cat’s Cradle.

This book has something to enjoy for all kinds of readers. Vonnegut has been able to capture sardonic humour, the concept, need, evolution and insignificance of religion, impossibility of succeeding in one’s responsibility to family and work wholly, apocalyptic end of the world, surviving an armegeddon, all into a compact, powerful novel less then 200 pages long. For the record, the genre is Science Fiction, but this classification is more a formality than a reflection of what the book has in store for you.

Vonnegut makes sharp, subtle criticisms of religion, society and human nature without going into lengthy description and whining about it. This is master story telling.

To answer why one needs religion, Vonnegut quotes verses from a “holy book” (of a religion invented in the book),

I wanted all things

To seem to make some sense,

So we all could be happy, yes,

Instead of tense.

And I made up lies

So that they all fit nice,

And I made this sad world

A par-a-dise

How can a religion be based solely on lies? If you cannot understand this, he says, you cannot understand the book.

Vonnegut’s description of the religion has many parallel’s the christinanity, and so do the characters in the book. He uses this analogy to impressive effects of exposing the untruth that religions are based on, and the contradictions that come bundled with it. He uses this relation to sent home the point that people feel that they dont hold responsibility to their creations including god himself.

Felix Hoenikker was more the father of the atomic bomb than the father of his children. That was a choice he made. He did not feel that he was responsible for this children. Could that be anything more than a cardinal sin? Could that alter the history of the world?

This book is not about religion alone. It is merely a part of it. It is science fiction, and has a lot to offer a science fiction fan. He talks of the life of the father of atomic bomb, and what a mind like that is capable of. He talks of lateral thinking, “thinking out of the box” to use the hackneyed phrase. Think of a weapon more powerful than the atomic bomb, and when let loose, the armegeddon that is can cause.

After reading Cat’s Cradle, you are left wondering “What’s worse? Armegeddon, or surviving it?”

I have talked a lot about the book, but have taken affort not to talk anything about the specific plot of the book (assuming there is one that everyone can agree on). I choose to do so, coz otherwise, you wouldnt enjoy it. I guess by the act of writing this review, I have already introduced a bias. So I will stop now.

A definite must read, especially if you havent read any Vonnegut books before.

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