Besides books, one of my biggest passions is science, so reading this book made perfect sense to me. I had read the cult classic “Slaughterhouse-five” by Kurt Vonnegut and quite enjoyed his style of prose, so I decided to give “Cat’s cradle” a fair try.
The book is named after the string game, Cat’s Cradle, that one of the characters, Felix Hoenikker, the inventor of the atomic bomb, was playing while the bomb was dropped on Japan at the end of the Second World War.
“Cat’s Cradle” revolves around a journalist named John (though he calls himself Jonah) that decides to write a book that tells the stories of what important people were doing when the atomic bomb was released. He contacts the three children on the fictional inventor of the explosive and tries to establish a connection with them.
As the story goes on, John finds out about Felix Hoenikkers last invention: the immensely dangerous ice-nine, a substance that turns liquids into solid masses.
At the center of the book lays a fictional religion, adopted by John, Bokononism. It is a strange, postmodern faith that combines cynical observations about life with peaceful, intimate rituals.
I can’t conclude whether or not I really liked the book. But one thing is for sure: after finishing it, I was left with a “What the fuck” feeling. It takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings, from believing in true science to describing a new peaceful religion, from democracy to crazy dictators. One critic said that “this is an annoying book and you must read it. And you better take it lightly, because if you don’t you’ll go off weeping and shoot yourself.” and I entirely agree with him.