Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut, is a crazily fast-paced science fiction book, with dark humor. It’s incredibly bleak, a bit of a downer of a book, at least in the end. At the beginning, though, it’s a mad romp through places and onto topics that are seemingly random. It’s all wrapped up in a neat ribbon at the end, albeit a neat apocalyptic ribbon.
The plot is overwhelming at times, and it may take you a bit to work out all the details, but it’ll make sense eventually. It’s certainly odd, going on about indexing and mosaics when it’s really about religion and stupidity. And it also has that great sense of fun, even though it is about the apocalypse. Funny how that is. It’s certainly a wild ride, but when things start getting a bit too happy, Bokonon comes in with some wise-man babble that is enlightening, enigmatic, and funny at the same time. It pulls you in and makes you want to keep reading.
The characters are compelling and realistic, both in their stupidity and their wisdom. Bokonon is a great hero, noble in his own way and witty. Our main character is basically the blank slate, the normal man, the “me”. Finally, Mona is a lot like Bokonon, and in this way not the most interesting of love interests. Nobody is stereotypical, they’re just…themselves. And they’re all great characters.
Cat’s Cradle is a great book that’s funny at times, satirical at others, and enigmatic at still others. It’s imaginative and a must-read science fiction book. As Bokonon says, even though it’s “all lies”, it’s still very, very entertaining.