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Cat's Cradle [Anglais] [Broché]

Kurt Vonnegut
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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Chapter One

The Day the World Ended


Call me Jonah. My parents did, or nearly did. They called me John.

Jonah--John--if I had been a Sam, I would have been Jonah still--not because I have been unlucky for others, but because somebody or something has compelled me to be certain places at certain times, without fail. Conveyances and motives, both conventional and bizarre, have been provided. And, according to plan, at each appointed second, at each appointed place this Jonah was there.

Listen:

When I was a younger man--two wives ago, 250,000 cigarettes ago, 3,000 quarts of booze ago . . .

When I was a much younger man, I began to collect material for a book to be called The Day the World Ended.

The book was to be factual.

The book was to be an account of what important Americans had done on the day when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.

It was to be a Christian book. I was a Christian then.

I am a Bokononist now.

I would have been a Bokononist then, if there had been anyone to teach me the bittersweet lies of Bokonon. But Bokononism was unknown beyond the gravel beaches and coral knives that ring this little island in the Caribbean Sea, the Republic of San Lorenzo.

We Bokononists believe that humanity is organized into teams, teams that do God's Will without ever discovering what they are doing. Such a team is called a karass by Bokonon, and the instrument, the kan-kan, that bought me into my own particular karass was the book I never finished, the book to be called The Day the World Ended.

Chapter Two



Nice, Nice, Very Nice

"If you find your life tangled up with somebody else's life for no very logical reasons," writes Bokonon, "that person may be a member of your karass."

At another point in The Books of Bokonon he tells us, "Man created the checkerboard; God created the karass." By that he means that a karass ignores national, institutional, occupational, familial, and class boundaries.

It is as free-form as an amoeba.

In his "Fifty-third Calypso," Bokonon invites us to sing along with him:

Oh, a sleeping drunkard
Up in Central Park,
And a lion-hunter
In the jungle dark,
And a Chinese dentist,
And a British queen--
All fit together
In the same machine.
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice, very nice;
Nice, nice very nice--
So many different people
In the same device.

Chapter Three



Folly

Nowhere does Bokonon warn against a person's trying to discover the limits of his karass and the nature of the work God Almighty has had it do. Bokonon simply observes that such investigations are bound to be incomplete.

In the autobiographical section of The Books of Bokonon he writes a parable on the folly of pretending to discover, to understand:

I once knew an Episcopalian lady in Newport, Rhode Island, who asked me to design and build a doghouse for her Great Dane. The lady claimed to understand God and His Ways of Working perfectly. She could not understand why anyone should be puzzled about what had been or about what was going to be.

And yet, when I showed her a blueprint of the doghouse I proposed to build, she said to me, "I'm sorry, but I never could read one of those things."

"Give it to your husband or your ministers to pass on to God," I said, "and, when God finds a minute, I'm sure he'll explain this doghouse of mine in a way that even you can understand."

She fired me. I shall never forget her. She believed that God liked people in sailboats much better than He liked people in motorboats. She could not bear to look at a worm. When she saw a worm, she screamed.

She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he sees what God is Doing, [writes Bokonon].

Chapter Four



A Tentative Tangling

Of Tendrils

Be that as it may, I intend in this book to include as many members of my karass as possible, and I mean to examine all strong hints as to what on Earth we, collectively, have been up to.

I do not intend that this book be a tract on behalf of Bokononism. I should like to offer a Bokononist warning about it, however. The first sentence in The Books of Bokonon is this:

"All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies."

My Bokononist warning in this:

Anyone unable to understand how a useful religion can be founded on lies will not understand this book either.

So be it.

. . .

About my karass, then.

It surely includes the three children of Dr. Felix Hoenikker, one of the so-called "Fathers" of the first atomic bomb. Dr. Hoenikker himself was no doubt a member of my karass, though he was dead before my sinookas, the tendrils of my life, began to tangle with those of his children.

The first of his heirs to be touched by my sinookas was Newton Hoenikker, the youngest of his three children, the younger of his two sons. I learned from the publication of my fraternity, The Delta Upsilon Quarterly, that Newton Hoenikker, son of the Noel Prize physicist, Felix Hoenikker, had been pledged by my chapter, the Cornell Chapter.

So I wrote this letter to Newt:

"Dear Mr. Hoenikker:

"Or should I say, Dear Brother Hoenikker?

"I am a Cornell DU now making my living as a free-lance writer. I am gathering material for a book relating to the first atomic bomb. Its contents will be limited to events that took place on August 6, 1945, the day the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

"Since your late father is generally recognized as having been one of the chief creators of the bomb, I would very much appreciate any anecdotes you might care to give me of life in your father's house on the day the bomb was dropped.

"I am sorry to say that I don't know as much about your illustrious family as I should, and so don't know whether you have brothers and sisters. If you do have brothers and sisters, I should like very much to have their addresses so that I can send similar requests to them.

"I realize that you were very young when the bomb was dropped, which is all to the good, My book is going to emphasize the human rather than the technical side of the bomb, so recollections of the day through the eyes of a 'baby, if you'll pardon the expression, would fit in perfectly.

"You don't have to worry about style and form. Leave all that to me. Just give me the bare bones of your story.

"I will, of course, submit the final version to you for your approval prior to publication.

"Fraternally yours--"

Chapter Five


Letter from

a pre med

To which Newt replied:

"I am sorry to be so long about answering your letter. That sounds like a very interesting book you are doing. I was so young when the bomb was dropped that I don't think I'm going to be much help. You should really ask my brother and sister, who are both older than I am. My sister is Mrs. Harrison C. Conners, 4918 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. That is my home address, too, now. I think she will be glad to help you. Nobody knows where my brother Frank is. He disappeared right after Father's funeral two years ago, and nobody has heard from him since. For all we know, he may be dead now.

"I was only six years old when they dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, so anything I remember about that day other people have helped me to remember.

"I remember I was playing on the living-room carpet outside my father's study door in Ilium, New York. The door was open, and I could see my father. He was wearing pajamas and a bathrobe. He was smoking a cigar. He was playing with a loop of string. Father was staying home from the laboratory in his pajamas all day that day. He stayed home whenever he wanted to.

"Father, as you probably know, spent practically his whole professional life working for the Research Laboratory of the General Forge and Foundry Company in Ilium. When the Manhattan Project came along, the bomb project, Father wouldn't leave Ilium to work on it. He said he wouldn't work on it at all unless they let him work where he wanted to work. A lot of the time that meant at home. The only place he liked to go, outside of Ilium, was our cottage on Cape Cod. Cape Cod was where he died. He died on a Christmas Eve. You probably know that, too.

"Anyway, I was playing on the carpet outside his study on the day of the bomb. My sister Angela tells me I used to play with little toy trucks for hours, making motor sounds, going 'burton, burton, burton' all the time. So I guess I was going 'burton, burton, burton' on the day of the bomb; and Father was in his study, playing with a loop of string.

"It so happens I know where the string he was playing with came from. Maybe you can use it somewhere in your book. Father took the string from around the manuscript of a novel that a man in prison had sent him. The novel was about the end of the world in the year 2000, and the name of the book was 2000 A.D. It told about how mad scientists made a terrific bomb that wiped out the whole world. There was a big sex orgy when everybody knew that the world was going to end, and then Jesus Christ Himself appeared ten seconds before the bomb went off. The name of the author was Marvin Sharpe Holderness, and he told Father in a covering letter the he was in prison for killing his own brother. He sent the manuscript to Father because he couldn't figure out what kind of explosives to put in the bomb. He thought maybe Father could make suggestions.

"I don't mean to tell you I read the book when I was six. We had it around the house for years. My brother Frank made it his personal property, on account of the dirty parts. Frank kept it hidden in what he called his 'wall safe' in his bedroom. Actually, it wasn't a safe but just an old stove flue with a tin lid. Frank and I must have read the orgy part a thousand times when we were kids. We had it for years, and then my sister Angela found it. She read it and said it was nothing but a piece of dirty rotten filth. She burned it up, and the string with it. She was a mother to Frank and me, because our real mother died when I was born.

"My father never read the book, I'm pretty sure. I don't think he ever read a novel or even a short story in his whole life, or at least not since he was a little boy. He didn't read his mail or magazines or newspapers, either. I suppose he read a lot of technical journals, but to tell you the truth, I can't remember my father reading anything.

"As I say, all he wanted from that manuscript was the string. That was the way he was. Nobody could predict what he was going to be interested in next. On the day of the bomb it was string.

"Have you ever read the speech he made when he accepted the Nobel Prize? This is the whole speech: 'Ladies and Gentlemen. I stand before you now because I never stopped dawdling like an eight-year-old on a spring morning on his way to school. Anything can make me stop and look and wonder, and sometimes learn. I am a very happy man. Thank you.'

"Anyway, Father looked at that loop of string for a while, and then his fingers started playing with it. His fingers made the string figure called a 'cat's cradle.' I don't know where Father learned how to do that. From his father, maybe. His father was a tailor, you know, so there must have been thread and string around all the time when Father was a boy.

"Making that cat's cradle was the closest I ever saw my father come to playing what anybody else would call a game. He had no use at all for tricks and games and rules that other people made up. In a scrapbook my sister Angela used to keep up, there was a clipping from Time magazine where somebody asked Father what games he played for relaxation, and he said, 'Why should I bother with made-up games when there are so many real ones going on?'

"He must have surprised himself when he made a cat's cradle out of the string, and maybe it reminded him of his own childhood. He all of a sudden came out of his study and did something he'd never done before. He tried to play with me. Not only had he never played with me before; he had hardly ever even spoken to me.

"But he went down on his knees on the carpet next to me, and he showed me his teeth, and he waved that tangle of string in my face. 'See? See? See?' he asked. 'Cat's cradle. See the cat's cradle? See where the nice pussycat sleeps? Meow. Meow.'

"His pores looked as big as craters on the moon. His ears and nostrils were stuffed with hair. Cigar smoke made him smell like the mouth of Hell. So close up, my father was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. I dream about it all the time.

"And then he sang. 'Rockabye catsy, in the tree top'; he sang, 'when the wind blows, the cray-dull will rock. If the bough breaks, the cray-dull will fall. Down will come cray-dull, catsy and all.'

"I burst into tears. I jumped up and I ran out of the house as fast as I could go.

"I have to sign off here. It's after two in the morning. My roommate just woke up and complained about the noise from the typewriter." --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

One of the warmest, wisest, funniest voices to be found anywhere in fiction (Daily Telegraph)

The time to read Vonnegut is just when you begin to suspect that the world is not what it appears to be. He is not only entertaining, he is electrocuting. You read him with enormous pleasure because he makes your hair stand on end (New York Times)

Vonnegut has looked the world straight in the eye and never flinched (J. G. Ballard) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 224 pages
  • Editeur : Penguin Classics (1 mai 2008)
  • Collection : MC FICTION (ENG
  • Langue : Inconnu
  • ISBN-10: 0141189347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141189345
  • Dimensions du produit: 1,3 x 12,9 x 19,6 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 2.778 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Une petite merveille d'humour déjanté 16 juillet 2010
Format:Broché
Une livre culte et une merveille d'humour déjanté, ou se mêlent science, voodoo, géopolitique, exotisme... C'est extrèmement bien construit, intelligent, surprenant et léger à la fois. J'en suis presque devenu Bokononist (ceux qui liront comprendront).
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 amazing book 6 janvier 2013
Par Sophio
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
great to read and with many interesting findings.
"What can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?" This is it: "Nothing.” (c) Bokonon
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  738 commentaires
339 internautes sur 354 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Cat's Cradle is terrific. (As it was meant to be) 18 mai 1998
Par L A Spillane-Larke - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
Cat's Cradle is by far the best Vonnegut novel that I have yet read. Blending his patented wry humor with acute social insight presented in an absurd fantasy world, Vonnegut has written an exceptional novel of love, lies, and the self destruction of mankind. The story centers around the narrator, Jonah, who is called by name once in the entire book. We are told in the beginning that he is writing a book on the events of the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan. His research leads him to a correspondence with Newt Hoenikker, the midget son of Doctor Felix Hoenikker, father of the atomic bomb. After meeting with Newt, destiny leads our protagonist to the impoverished island republic of San Lorenzo, where among other adventures, he finds religion, falls in love, and becomes president. All of this by itself would make for a very entertaining book, but it is not in the story line that Vonnegut's genius lies. Cat's Cradle is rife with painfully accurate insights into the institutions that our society holds so dear, such as, religion, politics, and science. Vonnegut invents for the inhabitants of San Lorenzo a brand new religion based completely and admittedly on "foma", or lies. This wouldn't be so shocking, except for the fact that this "bokonism" seems to make perfect sense. Other Vonnegut ironies pervade the book and are too elaborate to go into. Kurt Vonnegut is my favorite author of all time. Cat's Cradle is one of his funniest, most absurd, and frightening novels. This book truly causes one to stop and think about the things that one holds as unquestionably true. All of the incredible people, places, things, and ideas in Cat's Cradle are intricately woven into a perfect tapestry that sums up and spells out many of mankind's self-created problems in 191 pages.
77 internautes sur 83 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Amazing 21 juillet 2002
Par Sarah Jane - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I don't like sci-fi, but I loved this. This is the first Vonnegut I've read (I took a chance after reading so much praise for it) and it definitely won't be the last. It's one of those rare and wonderful books in the same vein as Animal Farm: simple prose, easy to read, yet with ironic tinges and thought-provoking depths; a novel that can be read and enjoyed at many different levels.
Cat's Cradle is narrated through Jonah, an author who aims to write a book on the single day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. On investigating the atomic bomb's main founding father (and his three children) he is told about a *non-existant* substance with the capacity to provide all water on earth with a different molecular structure, turning it into Ice 9 (ie, a substance that could bring about the end of the world) A different assignment takes Jonah to the small island of San Lorenzo where he encounters Felix Hoenikker's three children and a society where the religion of choice (a religion that everyone knows is based on lies, yet still has utter faith in) is punishable by death, for the simple fact that it adds excitement to the dull lives of the inhabitants. I won't go any further...
The thing that delighted me most about this book was the way in which it was written. A lot of great and influential books are ones that (on the whole) you enjoy, but take a while to get into, and at times you feel like giving up on: you know the book in question is good literature, but the style and plot make finishing it seem a chore.
Similarly, a lot of fast-paced books hold little impact, don't challenge the mind and are forgotten the instant you read them.
Kurt Vonnegut has managed to write a powerful and memorable novel in a short, snappy style: this book has everything that makes a compelling, challenging read. Vonnegut lets you get a feel for the characters without going into lengthy descriptions, he manages to make sharp, subtle criticisms of religion, human nature and society without rambling or whining, his plot is exciting yet not unrealistic, he creates a hellish world that plays on everyone's fear of obliteration in precious few words. I thought the ending was too abrupt, but it fitted well with the rest of the story (and it would have been even more disappointing if he'd created a satisfying, everything-tied-up-nicely ending)
I found this impossible to put down, and highly recommend it to any fan of literature.
45 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Funny, Philosophical, Superb Romp-to-the-end. 21 novembre 2000
Par Brendan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Vonnegut writes the book with the question that "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" plays with on a different level, all the while throwing in philosophies, wit, and things to ponder on and about during the COLD WAR.
The narrator (first-person incompetent) is somewhat vacant, and being so, maneuvers the story the best way possible.
The narrator is writing a book on the atomic bomb and he travels about meeting strange people who know the creators of the bomb. The characters he meets are funny and strange (You would have to be an oddball to be toying with doomsday.). In his journey he finds the sons and daughter of the inventor of the A-bomb. He finds that these three are an eccentric and foolish trio. The daughter and sons hold with them ice-nine, a weapon that makes the a-bomb seem infantile. Ice-nine was an attempt by their father to make battlefields (mud) solidify, making battle easier on soldiers. It winds up making any moisture it touches solid and blue, but its one flaw is, once put into the atmosphere it regenerates without stopping, freezing everything in its path(including human beings).
Vonnegut throws in the element of Bokononism, a quirky, weird religion spawned by an eccentric, self-made prophet named Bokonon. This angle plays in the mind of the reader as it debases the relevancy of all religions, thus, for example, making Catholicism or Islam just as strange as Bokononism. Bokononists chant about man being born of the "mud."
Symbolically the three children holding ice-nine, a single flake of which will end mankind as we know it, stand for three world superpowers. It shows that anyone, no matter how high in power, can be foolish, and should have no access to such an element of destruction. The ice-nine is just a symbol of the end of mankind through the folly of science, for the ice-nine turns things bluish white, like ice--putting man in another ice-age, destroying all "mud". The island of San Lorenzo is like Cuba--through its history no one really cared about anyone else ceasing it, but since there is an odd belief there(Bokononism/Communism),people poke around there now. It shows how such a small place, like Cuba, in the Cold War, could be ground-zero for the end of humanity, and warns against intervention there.
Being that the Cold War is over, this is an era piece that some may think is stagnate. Yet the tools to end civilization are still out there, so this book is relevant as long as science and government have and look for a greater means of destruction.
Though this book is funny and eccentric on surface, it is ultimately found to be a political warning. This humorous look at what could be the end, parallels Orwell's "Nineteen-Eighty-Four" in the field of political writing for the sake of warning (Orwell warns about the threat of Totalitarianism, Vonnegut warns about man's acute closeness to his own demise). This book is not as hard-nosed as "Nineteen-Eighty-Four." It is funny, but this is done to show the folly and incompetence that mankind's demise is handled with: Vonnegut's use of juxtaposition is without flaw.
Bokonon adds a religious facet to this novel. He ultimately shows folly and incompetence in the creation of something other than doomsday devices--religion. After the reader drops the hypocrisy of thinking their religion is "the one," Vonnegut brings up the question: Were people like Jesus or Mohammed just fools out spreading nonsense for the sake of an ego-trip?
This book touches on so many intense questions. It puts forth a vehicle for such deep introspection, yet it is hilarious. I only wish I were to have read this in the mind set of the world in the early sixties, when this book was first published. Vonnegut was way ahead of his time with this one. His writing, when dissected, makes me think he is one of the great thinkers of the twentieth-century into the twenty-first...
63 internautes sur 71 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 What am I missing here? 9 octobre 2007
Par Scott - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This was my first time reading Vonnegut, and I bought this novel largely based on his reputation as an author and the reviews I read here. The premise of the novel also sounded interesting. The narrator, Jonah, is writing a book about the events that took place on the day the atomic bomb was dropped, and focuses on the "father" of the atomic bomb, Felix Hoenikker, and his children. He eventually finds himself on the fictional island of San Lorenzo amid the backdrop of political and religious instability.

I could tell right away that Vonnegut was an excellent author. That is clear from his writing, which is very elegant and well organized. The book is a short read at 300 pages, and with chapters at 1-2 pages long, most people will be through it in a few hours. The chapters all flow into each other and there is no "jumping around" between other characters, as Jonah narrates the story through the first person.

Those are the positives and the reason I gave Cat's Cradle three stars. I believe this is a good book and likely an intellectual commentary on society and the arms race, etc etc, however all of this must have gone completely over my head because I didn't see any of it. Maybe this book is "too" intellectual for me, since I am not used to having to think so much while reading. What's more, the satire also went over my head and I do not recall any humorous moments in the entire book, and kept looking for the plot.

I do not mean for this review to turn people off of Cat's Cradle, just to let them know what they are getting into. If your usual fare is Tom Clancy, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, etc, and you are not used to writers like Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Chuck Palahniuk (this book reminded me a LOT of Survivor: A Novel), you may find you are missing out on most of the actual book. I was not disappointed when I finished Cat's Cradle, but I certainly wasn't as satiated as I usually am when I finish a good novel. Caveat emptor.
20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "No Cat, No Cradle!" 14 janvier 2001
Par Robert A. Svihla - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
If you've never read Kurt Vonnegut before, then you face a slight dilemma. You have two options available to you (well, really you've got more than two, but as long as you're reading this, I'm running the show and I say you've only got two):
1) You can read a slew of other Vonnegut books and build up to reading "Cat's Cradle," or
2) You can read "Cat's Cradle" and be so entirely blown away that no Vonnegut book will ever again live up to your newly inflated expectations.
That said, "Cat's Cradle" is an absolute must read for anyone and everyone over the age of birth. To summarize Vonnegut's crazy, whacked out plot would be an exercise in futility: it's got something to do with the father of the atomic bomb and his three bizarre children and the narrator who will chronicle their story as they get mixed up with the inhabitants of the island of San Lorenzo, all of whom are Bokononists. Confused yet? You should be. Throw in a little bit of ice-nine, a chemical that can feasibly bring about the end of the world, and you might have a slight inkling of the pieces of Vonnegut's puzzle.
Still, for all of the crazy characters and situations in "Cat's Cradle," it's ultimately a brilliant satire of the Cold War; at one particular moment a character realizes the importance of dichotomies, why we must believe the other is "evil" for us to be able to see ourselves as "good" and how absurd such things are, how phony and constructed they are. At the heart of all this is Vonnegut's brilliant metaphor for the cat's cradle, and it's a beauty.
Even if all this political satire doesn't grab you, just the way in which Vonnegut manages to throw a dozen ridiculous balls in the air and keep them well juggled and catch them all with grace by the final page is testament to his skill. "Cat's Cradle" is a book that'll make you sit up and think, but will also make you laugh out loud and maybe even touch you emotionally, particularly during the American ambassador to San Lorenzo's speech. It's so gut wrenching and absurd and oh so wonderfully written that you'll be hooked before you even realize it. Read it; this is as good as it gets.
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