When I was doing my undergraduate degree way back in the day, Slaughterhouse Five was on the assigned reading list for one of my courses and I thought that it was one of the most brilliant works of literature I’d ever encountered. I stand by my opinion to this day. I loved it so much that my father bought me two or three other Vonnegut novels for my birthday that year but I couldn’t get into any of them; after downloading and reading Cat’s Cradle I remember why.
I don’t know what to say about this book. There were times when the brilliance of Vonnegut’s story-telling shone bright and clear and I remembered why I loved him as I did. There were other times where I wondered about his sanity or access to street drugs as parts of the book seemed like utter nonsense, with loose ends flying freely and messily.
The novel, narrated by [perhaps] Vonnegut, or by an unnamed man, tells of a journey taken while writing about the events of the day that the atomic bomb exploded in Hiroshima, and the strange meetings and side trips along the way. I give Vonnegut every credit for imagination, yet the inclusion of the fictional religion of Bokononism brings an oddity and sense of creative insanity to the book that I don’t think is redeemable by the excellence of the rest of the writing.
My thoughts about a rating for this book are still pending.