Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
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Cat's Cradle


Cat’s Cradle (1963) is Vonnegut’s most ambitious novel, which put into the language terms like “wampeter”, “kerass” and “granfalloon” as well as a structured religion, Boskonism and was submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for a Master’s Degree in anthropology, and in its sprawling compass and almost uncontrolled (and uncontrollable) invention, may be Vonnegut’s best novel. Written contemporaneously with the Cuban missile crisis and countenancing a version of a world in the grasp of magnified human stupidity, the novel is centered on Felix Hoenikker, a chemical scientist reminiscent of Robert Oppenheimer… except that Oppenheimer was destroyed by his conscience and Hoenikker, delighting in the disastrous chemicals he has invented, has no conscience at all. Hoenikker’s “Ice 9” has the potential to convert all liquid to inert ice and thus destroy human existence; he is exiled to a remote island where Boskonism has enlisted all of its inhabitants and where religion and technology collaborate, with the help of a large cast of characters, to destroy civilization.
Vonnegut’s compassion and despair are expressed here through his grotesque elaboration of character and situation and also through his created religion which like Flannery O’Connor’s “Church Without Christ” (in Wise Blood) acts to serve its adherents by removing them from individual responsibility. Vonnegut had always been taken seriously by science fiction readers and critics (a reception which indeed made him uncomfortable) but it was with Cat’s Cradle that he began to be found and appreciated by a more general audience. His own ambivalence toward science, science fiction, religion and religious comfort comes through in every scene of this novel.

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Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut
Cat's Cradle
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leralantsova
leralantsovashared an impressionlast year
🙈Lost On Me
🔮Hidden Depths
💡Learnt A Lot
🚀Unputdownable

I'm reading it for a second time now:) it is absolutely amazing

Mariana Rybii
Mariana Rybiishared an impression12 days ago
👍
🔮Hidden Depths
💡Learnt A Lot
🚀Unputdownable

petric2318
petric2318shared an impression2 years ago
👍
🔮Hidden Depths
💡Learnt A Lot
🚀Unputdownable

QuotesAll

Had I been a Bokononist then, pondering the miraculously intricate chain of events that had brought dynamite money to that particular tombstone company, I might have whispered, “Busy, busy, busy.”
Busy, busy, busy, is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.
Ah, God, what an ugly city Ilium is!
“Ah, God,” says Bokonon, “what an ugly city every city is!”
"If you find your life tangled up with somebody else's life for no very logical reasons," writes Bokonon, "that person may be a member of your karass."
I don't do anything but sit around and remember sad things and pity myself.
Utopias, The Seventh Book, which he called “Bokonon’s Republic.” In that book are these ghastly aphorisms:
The hand that stocks the drug stores rules the world.
Let us start our Republic with a chain of drug stores, a chain of grocery stores, a chain of gas chambers, and a national game. After that, we can write our Constitution.
When I was a younger man — two wives ago, 250,000 cigarettes ago, 3,000 quarts of booze ago.
I have been unlucky for others, but because somebody or something has compelled me to be certain places at certain times, without fail.
When I was a younger man—two wives ago, 250,000 cigarettes ago, 3,000 quarts of booze ago…
We Bokononists believe that humanity is organized into teams, teams that do God’s Will without ever discovering what they are doing. Such a team is called a karass by Bokonon, and the instrument, the kan-kan, that brought me into my own particular karass was the book I never finished, the book to be called The Day the World Ended.
Give it to your husband or your minister to pass on to God,” I said, “and, when God finds a minute, I’m sure he’ll explain this doghouse of mine in a way that even you can understand.”
“All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies.”
The words were a paraphrase of the suggestion by Jesus: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.”
Bokonon’s paraphrase was this:
“Pay no attention to Caesar. Caesar doesn’t have the slightest idea what’s really going on.”
When I was a younger man — two wives ago, 250,000 cigarettes ago, 3,000 quarts of booze ago.
The mind reels,
“Dr. Hoenikker used to say that any scientist who couldn’t explain to an eight-year-old what he was doing was a charlatan.”
“Then I’m dumber than an eight-year-old,” Miss Pefko mourned. “I don’t even know what a charlatan is.”
In his “Fifty-third Calypso,” Bokonon invites us to sing along with him:
Oh, a sleeping drunkard
Up in Central Park,
And a lion-hunter
In the jungle dark,
And a Chinese dentist,
And a British queen—
All fit together
In the same machine.
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice—
So many different people
In the same device.
“Dr. Hoenikker used to say that any scientist who couldn’t explain to an eight-year-old what he was doing was a charlatan.”
“Then I’m dumber than an eight-year-old,” Miss Pefko mourned. “I don’t even know what a charlatan is.”
Live by the foma1 that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”
We Bokononists believe that humanity is organized into teams, teams that do God’s Will without ever discovering what they are doing. Such a team is called a karass by Bokonon, and the instrument, the kan-kan, that brought me into my own particular karass was the book I never finished, the book to be called The Day the World Ended.
There is love enough in this world for everybody, if people will just look. I am proof of that.”
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