Cat’s Cradle

Photo on 15-12-14 at 16.29 #3

(please ignore the awkward finger placement. SIGH)

I normally read really really fast but oftentimes what I read isn’t very… in depth. And I tend to forget various piecemeal details of the book after I’m done… so, basically, I’m not a very good reader of prose, even if I do enjoy it immensely. And since I do really want to remember the worthwhile things I’ve read wholly, I’ve decided to try to write an afterbook thought for them! I wouldn’t say that it would be a book review per se — I personally think I’m in no way qualified to critique anything literary — so it would just be a moderate reflection of how that particular story impacted me or gave me very runny feelings.

And so the first book would be Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. I’ve read it twice, the first time shoddily– in a pdf format on my S4– and the second time I got a volume of his novels from the library (the library is quite exciting!! Especially the new library@orchard, which I love. I even paid my five year overdue fines, which amounted to a shocking $15.25, so I can actually use my own card to borrow things instead of using cards of various friends’.) and I reread it again because it was that good.

I’ve read about Kurt Vonnegut as an author and a person from this place, and I was naturally intrigued. How often can an author portray himself with a cynical yet affable and lovable persona, yet ‘of equal measure’ in resentment yet unmistakably in love with the strange idiosyncrasies of his world? So I decided to begin reading his books. And after one and a half books (the second being God Bless You, Mr Rosewater, which I’ve yet to finish) this persona is inexplicably just there.

Cat’s Cradle has a dystopian slant — a genre which I really and genuinely appreciate. The essence of the story revolves around a self-proclaimed religion of falsity — Bokononism and its humanistic beliefs and how it defines and impacts the world of its people; citizens living in a fictional shithole country named San Lorenzo. It talks about the necessary tension between the good and the evil, and the perils of living in one disparate dichotomy — of religion versus government — and the purpose in the outward banning of an inward religion. Of the irrationality of our age-old perception of love, and posits the idea that while we support the concept of love being infinite, the ways we practice it actually diminishes that very notion. Of laughing in the face of the end times, because nothing can actually get worse, right?

I’ve learned of ‘when it happened, as it should happen’, and the responsibility of the world held in the caustic palms of a few. How a minuscule action can impact one, and how relentless thought & external research for abstract concepts like faith in God and Man can merely do so much.. because in the final analysis it seems to him that we remain in equal measure ignorant as when we first began. And my favourite — letting yourself go to places you do not expect because ‘peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God’.

I really enjoyed it. I haven’t enjoyed a book this much for such a LONG LONG time. And it’s always fun to open oneself up to new worldviews because I feel we often find ourselves oscillating between being absolutely in love and also in absolute rejection of our world. Vonnegut’s cynical view is really refreshingly honest and his satirical take on America is also rather funny. So… go read it! :-) :-)

I am going eat my sushi now.


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