The book starts with a reference to Jonah from Bible and the way it is told presents a parallelism with Ishmael of Moby Dick. The book start with saying Jonah is forced to stay in certain place at certain times. A satire of religion, not necessarily specific to Christianity but all religions, makes up the main plot of the book which, in turn, comes up with its self-created religion namely Bokononism. The book repeatedly brings sarcastic criticism to the alleged lies of religion(s) by a high level of absurdity of Bokononism. Factitious religion is composed of its own rules, principles and terms organized in several books makes the reader feel like reading a religious book but gives the impression that religions only makes people feel better in unscientific teachings. The image of Bokonon and references of its self-claimed teachings mock the search for truth in this life. In this context, conversion of the main character from Christianity to Bokononism is an interesting (sub)plot for the readers.
On the other side of the coin, it is a scientific fiction that introduced the element of ice-nine and invention of atomic bomb. One should be evaluating the book by taking into account of the fact that it was written in early 60s when the tension of Cold War allegedly reached its peak during Cuban crisis. It includes some references to the well-known approaches of the US foreign policies and spying of USSR. However, writer does presents his criticism to politics and the roots of Cold War in an otherworldly plot while devoting some meaninglessness to them. The reader needs to pay attention to the scene that Dr Felix Hoenikker, the inventor of the atomic bomb, was making a cats’ cradle when it was dropped in Japan. It highlights some arbitrariness in life but also involves an ironic view of high politics and pointlessness of some coincidences. From this perspective, the reason behind selecting Cat’s Cradle as the name of the book becomes more striking.
Furthermore, the relation between politics and religion in the country of San Lorenzo with full of absurdities provides a strong ground for the writer to bring forward some bitter criticism of politics and religion that plays the roles of the good and the evil in the vicious circle of lies. It also has a reference the Holocoust while referring to one of the doctors in the book.
Overall, it is a book of criticism of politics, religion and some human behaviors linked to this context. The strongest part of the book is the power of the writer in using a continuous satirical and ironic approach that make the reader to keep reading whether like or dislike it. The readers needs to be aware of the fact that the book says nothing in this book is really true. However, I found an interesting truth which the Bokononism refers in his utopia of Republic; “Let us start our Republic with a chain of drug stores, a chain of grocery stores, a chain of gas chambers, and a national game. After that, we can write our Constitution”. Brilliant mockery and well done indeed.
The question remains for me whether I like it or not. Frankly speaking, I would prefer to read it in an enlightenment class rather than reading it in the middle of drudgery of daily life. So, that was a strong advice as well.