Sometimes we just need a little bit of whimsical existentialism in our lives.
That’s why this week on the MashReads Podcast, we read and discuss Kurt Vonnegut’s book Cat’s Cradle, a novel that defies description partially because of how absurd the plot is.
The book follows a journalist, John or Jonah, as he asks to be called as he investigates the inventor of the atomic bomb.
This investigation that leads him to discovering Hoenikker’s eccentric children, the mysterious substance ice-nine, the secluded island San Lorenzo, a new religion called Bokononism (the basic tenet of which is that everything in Bokononism is a lie), all of which lead to the end of the world.
Sound crazy? We know!
Join us as we talk about Vonnegut’s absurd storytelling, his feelings on science and religion, the genius of Cat’s Cradle and whether the book counts as satire.
And as always, we close the show with recommendations.
Aliza recommends the new Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone movie La La Land. “It was beautiful and moving and amazing and I loved everything about it,” she says.
Peter recommends Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty and Truth by New York Times critic A.O. Scott. “It is just a very, very deep, extremely readable, fantastic book,” he says.
MJ recommends GQ‘s completely bonkers profile of Tom Ford called Tom Ford on Sex, Death, and Penetration: “Talk about absurdism. This profile is crazy … just hilarious and phenomenal.”
Next week we are reading and discussing Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. We hope you’ll join us.