SCENE Recommends: Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

'An immersive world involving family feuds, pseudo-Eastern religion and existential threat,' Tom Brown recommends you an explosive read for April...

(Image: Penguin)

Having been sitting on my bookcase at home for a few years, and then on my shelf in halls for almost another year, I finally read this short Vonnegut novel last summer. 

Devouring it within a few days, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated at having put off reading it for so long. Perhaps the blurbs’ mention of weapons of mass destruction led me to infer that the novel would be dense (it was instead busy) – or it is more likely that I lacked the gumption to open the damned thing.

Either way, I recommend this absurd novel to you today. Vonnegut crafts an immersive world involving investigative writing, family feuds, an oppressed island pseudo-Eastern religion (with its own religiouspeak), and the existential threat of ‘ice-nine’. 

A fable of sorts, furnished with the sharp wit of Vonnegut (given the very real threat of nuclear annihilation in 1963), which flows wonderfully all the way through. One not to leave on the bookshelf.