Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

I don’t actually know what I should write about Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. It was, most definitely, a highly enjoyable read. It is amazing how Vonnegut manages to make readers think and experience things in a completely different way. I still, after 2 years, remember a scene in Slaughterhouse-Five, where it is described how Billy on a prisoners-of-war transport shits himself in a coughing fit – the poor man suffering from pneumonia and diarrhoea at the same time. I remember it because it made me laugh so much that I had tears in my eyes and after I’ve stopped laughing it hit me that this was nothing to laugh about. That it was something too many people had to endure and few survived.

So, I thought instead of giving you a long, frantic analysis of Cat’s Cradle, I just tell you what got stuck, what made me ponder. It is one of the wisdoms from Bokonon, the holy and hunted man of the ficticious island of San Lorenzo:

‘History!’ writes Bokonon. ‘Read it and weep!’ (Cat’s Cradle 157)

Now, whenever I read the news, this little quote from the book pops into my mind and I cannot help myself but re-phrase this sentence into ‘News! Read it and weep!’. News about Brexit, Trump, Erdogan and far-right movements sweeping through Europe make me weep. The tendencies and the rhetoric make me think of other events 70 odd years ago .

Let us hope that we’ve evolved enough since then and that we will not repeat history.


Vonnegut, Kurt. Cat’s Cradle.Harmondsworth:Penguin Books Ltd. 1974. Print.
Feature Image stolen from a very interesting blog about the real-life inspiration for Hoenikker in Cat’s Cradle http://io9.gizmodo.com/the-real-life-scientist-who-inspired-kurt-vonneguts-ca-1447276268
The news examples are from BBC.

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