Just got up from reading Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. The book turned out to be typical Vonnegut- full of deadpan humor, bitter irony and tragic satire. It would be a tough quest if one set out to explain or review the book. The book is about life or rather its meaninglessness, the senility of human beings and the futileness of all human endeavors. Its also about the war, the atom bomb, science, midgets , dictators and religion. Take everything around you put it in a mixer turn on the switch and out comes Cat’s Cradle.
Even though Vonnegut’s narration is crazy at best and drivel at worst, the book strikes a chord somewhere deep down. It opens up the box that each of us has kept safely locked up, the box full of Whys. Why this ? why that ? why iit? why life ? blah blah blah. I wont go on , afraid lest it may turn out to be Confessions 2.0
Anyways the best part of the book is Bokonon – a crazy half negro full of nice little witty sayings. I’ll sum up few of my favorites
Tiger got to hunt,
Bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder,’Why, why, why?’
Tiger got to sleep,
Bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.
A lover’s a liar,
To himself he lies.
The truthful are loveless,
Like oysters their eyes !
In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in his cosmic loneliness. And God said, ‘Let us make living cretures out of mud, so the mud can see what we have done.’ And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close as mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked, ‘What is the purpose of all this?’ he asked politely.
‘Everything must have a purpose?’ asked God.
‘Certainly,’ said man.
‘Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,’ said God. And he went away.
There are several more. If you liked these then you would love the book. A warning. All of the above are fomas ofcourse. fomas are lies.
I must thank Shriram for lending me In Xinadu. For one I became a great fan of William Dalrymple and ended up reading From the Holy Mountain. On the other it revived my taste for History especially Roman History. All though In Xinadu was splendid in many ways, its epilogue was special. Here’s a snippet –
When Sir Richard Burton left Mecca having spent a year there in disguise, despite having just accomplished one of the greatest-ever feats of exploration he found himself overcome with depression.
The exaltation of having penetrated and escaped the Holy City without damage was followed by languor and disappointment. I had time upon my mule for musing upon how melancholy a thing is success. Whilst failure inspirits a man, attainment reads the sad prosy lesson that all our glories “are in shadows not substantial things……”