Rose here with an apocalyptic book; Cat’s Cradle.

It’s a pretty strange book to be honest, tiny chapters, concise language and a mournful main character looking back before the disaster. It creates a novel that you quickly read to get the first glimpse of the cause of the apocalypse but I warn you, it’s 80% through the novel before it appears and causes death. And it’s only downhill from there.

I won’t lie, I had to look up the main character’s name (John) as he wasn’t a character I particularly liked and he wanted to be known as Jonah and some kind of prophet for the end.  The style of the book didn’t help though. Throughout most of the book the story is looking back at the past, the first person narrator hinting to the reader what would happen but never explaining it. I don’t like not knowing things so this probably didn’t make me warm up to him. Oh, and falling in love with a picture. What was that? There are several characters and almost all are pretty dull, so I won’t dwell on them, the draw of this novel was how it handles religion and the end of the world.

Bokononism is a religion that preaches about the bullshit hidden in beliefs and relations to technology, it is practised by the islanders and is a reprieve from their harsh life. Much of it is strange but makes twisted sense and the offhand, almost uncaring way the religion presents itself is a stark change to most religions. At the start of the book John often comments about it, but with lots of new phrases I didn’t want to learn I didn’t really understand it until they got to the island. The book is written about the atomic bomb and the dangers of technology and the religion is another way Vonnegut questions our attitudes.

Ice-9 is the product of a scientist who was allowed to work on whatever he wanted and with only a push he threw himself into creating something that could end the world in seconds. Apparently helping to create the atom bomb wasn’t enough for him. The ice is only a real presence in a fraction of the book and I would have liked to see more of its effects as it’s an awesome idea; everything it touches turns to ice as well. Even though a handful of people survive it’s obvious that they will not last long and the main character at the end is contemplating about his suicide. Ice-9 is an obvious allusion to nuclear devastation as the consequences of a strike are the same, playing on the cold war fears.

This book was quick and interesting, with fears of a nuclear war weaved through it. Unfortunately the characters left a lot to be desired as many were unlikable; characters can only be flawed for me if they warrant it. Everybody has flaws but that’s what makes them interesting, but in this book the characters fell flat or where simply unrelatable. But anywho, I’m off to read Slaughterhouse Five.

Hope this year will treat everyone well,

Rose!

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