Customer Reviews


37 Reviews
5 star:
 (18)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you've read Slaughterhouse 5 first
This is the second book of Vonnegut I've read, the first one being Vonnegut's best know novel, "Slaughterhouse 5". If it was not for "Slaughterhouse 5" I would take "A cat's cradle" as a very imaginative, weird and funny book, but probably not one that keeps me thinking for some time once finished. The tone is just too light and the story too improbable to be taken...
Published on 18 Aug 2007 by F. X. Dessioux

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Directionless and sometimes dull
I bought this because I had heard about ice-nine from a cousin since the early eighties, and while buying some other stuff, this was thrown up as a suggestion. Perhaps I am reading it in the wrong decade and I am missing nuances which contemporaries would appreciate - I found the book dull and directionless. I liked the brief chapter structure while reading it, although I...
Published 4 months ago by S. Zacharias


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you've read Slaughterhouse 5 first, 18 Aug 2007
By 
F. X. Dessioux (Madrid, Spain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is the second book of Vonnegut I've read, the first one being Vonnegut's best know novel, "Slaughterhouse 5". If it was not for "Slaughterhouse 5" I would take "A cat's cradle" as a very imaginative, weird and funny book, but probably not one that keeps me thinking for some time once finished. The tone is just too light and the story too improbable to be taken otherwise. But this is highly deceptive and once you realise that Vonnegut's war experience in Dresden has been central to his vision of life, this book appears not just as light entertainment but as a more profound reflection on the meaning of life (pretty meaningless in the author's view I gather) and, incidentally, on the role of religion and the power science gives to some very irresponsible and unbalanced people (this book was written during the cold war and the possibility of the world being completely wiped out by nuclear war was then seen as very real).

The message may be too pessimistic to make the novel completely enjoyable but it makes for an interesting and very funny read until someone presses the wrong the button.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book, 23 Nov 1998
By A Customer
It's full of comic gems and cynicism. Things like the touching of feet. The islanders pronouncing Johnson as Bokonon. That he bans the religion to try to drum up interest. The way he compares himself with some head of an arms complex, (I forget exactly but something like) he looked clean and polished, I felt prickly and diseased. Worth reading for that. I read it 10 years ago and haven't seen it since, but I remember it like a favourite pop song. Buy it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The novel is almost as fascinating as the reviews...., 3 Sep 2012
By 
G. Robinson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Well, that was great fun.
I first read Cat's Cradle as a 16 year old in 1973. I loved it as much as anything I had read up to that point. I re-read it very recently and tried as hard as I could to avoid the rosy glow of nostalgia colouring my impressions.
I hope I succeeded; in any case I found myself shaking my head every few seconds in wonder at the humour, the ideas and the sheer intelligence on display. I think I probably got more out of the book almost 40 years on than I did at the age of 16, but the fact that a novel, essentially of ideas rather than storyline, left such an indelible impression on my adolescent mind is pretty remarkable. I think Vonnegut is held in even greater esteem today than during his lifetime and the predictions of him going the way of Mark Twain in terms of reputation don't seem too fanciful.
So, it was a great re-connection for me and a re-discovery of something dear; then the real fun began when I read the reviews here on Amazon.
Fighting the temptation to slip into `defensive fanboy' mode I still find the content of the negative reviews published here fascinating and provocative. There seem to be a few consistent criticisms;
* The novel and it's themes are `dated' and no longer relevant
* The characters are unbelievable or `unappealing'
* The plot is weak
* There is no central point to the novel
So, is the novel `dated'? Well, it was published in 1973, so by some standards it's bound to be dated - it is nearly 50 years old and our world today is different technologically, politically and environmentally. Given all of that I'm personally astonished at how well it has aged. Yes, we are no longer preoccupied by the Cold War, but with events in Iran how safe do we really feel from the threat of nuclear war? With the rise of militant fundamentalism how less relevant are issues of religion, lies and morality? With global warming how less relevant are the themes of man-made environmental catastrophe and the impact of technology for good and evil? It seems to me that Mr Vonnegut's themes are astonishingly universal and prescient.
The characters in Cat's Cradle are certainly a grotesque and flawed bunch. They don't set out to remind you of your friends and acquaintances or evoke sympathy or empathy. I would challenge anyone, however, not to warm to the character of that old scoundrel Lionel Boyd Johnson (unless his religion offends thee, in which case it's just possible you may have missed the point). Being stupid, careless and thoughtless, of course, doesn't make a character unappealing, merely human.
The plot certainly doesn't attempt to rival Harold Robbins or even Stephen King. No surprise, though, that Mr. K is a big fan of Mr. V. It's actually, I think, a tight little plot which is more than just a series of hooks for the snowstorm of ideas and invention, but if your taste runs to pot-boilers you will have to look elsewhere.
There's no central point to the novel, that's true - but largely because there are more central points as a proportion of words written than in any other novel this side of James Joyce. Personally I find the cat's cradle of ideas about science, religion, family, nationalism and crass but very human stupidity way more exciting than a single central point.
So, am I a misty-eyed fanboy or a detached critic? Bit of both perhaps. Is Cat's Cradle a great American Novel or a dated piece of barely-structured, artsy, baby-boomer sci-fi? I'm going to have to go with the former. Will it still provoke debate and divide opinion in another 50 years' time? I can only hope so. Will the world finally see sense and abandon all religions in favour of Bokononism? What a wonderful world that would be.
Busy, busy, busy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sci-fi mixed with philosophy, 13 Dec 2011
Vonnegut's book is packed with irony, humor and the absurd. He invents a new religion - based on lies (very convincing). So far my favourite Vonnegut
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really doesn't get much better, 16 April 2011
This review is from: Cat's Cradle (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Firstly, I'm a huge Vonnegut fan. From the pulpy sci-fi stuff to the offbeat and down-to-earth satires. For me, this is his best book. It's got all the elements that make Vonnegut great on show - funny dialogue, short chapters, repeat phrases which get more powerful each time, all within a whole new world religion he expertly creates within the story. I almost feel like I understood people better when I finished reading this the second time. It's deep, it's dark, but it's funny but it's really truthful and (I think) it made me understand how to be a better person!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the negative comments state, 13 April 2011
This review is from: Cat's Cradle (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Having read most of KV's book now I feel that this is his equal best - if not his best. Better than the supposed great of 'Slaughterhouse Five' which has too much Tralfamadore sci-fi for my tastes. This may be light and in a near first person perspective (I originally thought it was first person like Timequake), but it's great story. It reminds me of the 'Old Man and the Sea' in the way that it only uses the words required to write the story. It doesn't try to be too wordy for the sake of it.
Please read this with an open mind and let the story flow. It might be dated to some people, but I feel there are references which could be considered modern in there. The island is almost taken from 'Lost' in it's religious overtones and historical concepts (people washing up on shore and fighting for control throughout time) and the people are real with honest stories which are driven by their bare emotions (love, desire and longing for them normal life which constantly evades them). I particularly like the concept of a religion which appears to offer to tell all, but is tells nothing (a bit like every episode of Lost) and provides no more insight than a fortune cookie.
The only negative is the clumsy way the incident which causes the near-end of the world happens. It does feel like many chapters are conducted in a few pages. But that's it - apart from that it ranks along side Albert Camus 'The Insider' as one of my favourite books. I only wish 'd read Kurt's novel's when I was in my teen's.
I hope it provides the same joy to you too (time and time again)!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Read, 18 Jan 2011
This review is from: Cat's Cradle (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I discovered Kurt Vonnegut's incredible literature just last year, and each book I read I fall a little more in love with the way in which he writes and depicts his ideas and thoughts. Cat's Cradle is a funny, thought provoking and over all incredibly addictive book. With a humorous insight into religion, and other things that mak the world go around, this is definitely one of my favourite Vonnegut so far.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read it again, 2 July 2005
By A Customer
The first time I read this book I thought it was good, six years on I read it again and thought it was great, another six years and I've just finished it again and think it may be the greatest book I've ever read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good (but perhaps not his best), 17 Sep 2001
A nice short read, this is vonnegut on good form and therefore recommended. Not as inventive or thrilling as Sirens of titan (read this book!) but great all the same. Funny characters, and a pop at religion, and the idea of 'ice-nine' was nice. I would have taken it further, and had the soviets developing crystal poisons to combat ice-nine in a fun cold-war type of scenario. But then I must remember I don't write books.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touched my soul without removing my shoes!, 29 Nov 2000
By 
J. HARVEY "Joel" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book starts a religon and ends a planet. I have read almost everything that Vonnegut has published and this book is essential in understanding the genius, precise wit that this crazy loon uses to spin his sardonic humour. There is so much to this man, and to this book. You never really know what is factual occurences and what is part of the story. Thats just the way he likes it! Vonnegut lets us know just how damn cruel we all can be, no blame, no fire and damnation, just quiet acceptance. Bokonon, the outlawed religon is based on 'harmless untruths' and the forbidden practice of removing your shoes and touching soles with someone. what more can I say? Vonnegut has lived, really lived (Slaughterhouse 5). He has a lot to say.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xa174c5f4)

This product

Cat's Cradle (Penguin Modern Classics)
Cat's Cradle (Penguin Modern Classics) by Kurt Vonnegut (Paperback - 1 May 2008)
5.59
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews