What can I say about Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle? Well, since it was written over fifty years ago, everything’s probably already been said at least once (not that I’ll let that stop me from adding my opinion to the mix). As a whole, not my favorite genre, not my favorite literary era, and not my favorite style. Despite all the things working against it, the book still retains a timeless luster.
Cat’s Cradle is one of Vonnegut’s less popular works. The thing about pieces of satire such as this, is that they are so open to individual interpretation that you can read into them whatever you want. Few things are worse than being trapped in a discussion with an overzealous reader who has turned an author’s ‘open to interpretation’ work into the personal manifesto by which they live their life – especially when their interpretation is an outlandish affront to your interpretation. I think that Vonnegut’s work has (or had) a tendency to fall prey to this sect.
The Cat’s Cradle is a satirical social commentary. To some extent, what the reader will construe as Vonnegut’s intended targets – science, religion, war, peace, poverty – will vary. To me, it’s the barefaced statements hidden within the nonsense, slices of reality so accurate that they still ring true today, that makes this piece a timeless classic. Everyone should try a taste of Vonnegut at least once.