Cradle for a cat
“You can call me Iona” – such a phrase opens a novel. The hero-narrator believes that this name is much more suitable for him than the one given at birth, for he “always somewhere brings”.
One day he planned to write a book “The Day the End of the World Comes.” In it, he was going to talk about what the famous Americans were doing when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Then, according to the hero, he was still a Christian, but later he became a boconist, and now and again he quotes the teachings of this great sage and philosopher, richly covering the narrative with the Bokononian terminology.
The Bokonon teaches that the whole of humanity is divided into karasses, that is to say, groups that do not know what they are doing, doing the will of God, and the carasses should be distinguished from the grandfalls, false associations, to which, among other things, the Communist Party also applies.
The work on the book about the end of the world, if necessary, leads the narrator in the carapace, headed by the great scientist Felix Honniker, Nobel laureate and father of the atomic bomb who lives and works in the fictional city of Ilium, which appears in many books of Vonnegut.
When someone said on the atomic bomb tests: “Now science has come to know sin,” Honniker asked in surprise: “What is sin?” Did not know the great scientist and what
According to the memoirs of Honniker Newth’s younger son, the father never played with children and only once wove a “cradle for a cat” from a string, than terribly frightened the child. But he enthusiastically solved puzzles, which were presented by nature. Once the infantry general complained of mud, in which people and equipment are stuck. Honnikker seemed a mystery worthy of attention, and in the end he came up with an ice-nine, a few grains of which are capable of freezing all life for many miles around. The scientist managed to get an icicle, which he put in a bottle, hid it in his pocket and went to his dacha to meet Christmas with the children. On Christmas Eve he told about his invention and died that very evening. Children – Angela, Frank and Lilliput Newt – divided an icicle with each other.
Learning that Frank is currently the minister of science and progress of the “banana republic” San Lorenzo, ruled by dictator Papa Monzano, the hero-narrator goes there, at the same time undertaking to write for the American magazine an essay on this island in the Caribbean.
On the plane, he meets Angela and Newt, who are flying to visit their brother. To pass the time on the road, the hero reads a book about San Lorenzo and learns about the existence of the Baconon.
Once someone LB Johnson and fugitive corporal McCabe by will of circumstances found themselves on the coast of San Lorenzo and decided to seize him, Nobody prevented them from implementing the plan – first of all because the island was considered completely useless and people could not imagine a worse life there. The locals could not pronounce the name Johnson correctly, they always got the Baconon, and that’s why he himself began to call himself that.
On the island the hero gets acquainted with a number of colorful characters. This – Dr. Julian Castle, about which, in fact, he ordered an essay. The millionaire sugar maker, having lived the first forty years of his life in drunkenness and debauchery, Castle then decided, following the example of Schweitzer, to establish a free hospital in the jungle and “dedicate his entire life to the sufferers of another race.”
Personal physician of Pope Monzano Dr. Schlichter von Koenigswald in his spare time works selflessly in Castle Hospital. Before that, he served fourteen years in the SS units and six in Auschwitz. Now he is saving the life of the poor with might and main, and, according to Castle, “if he continues at such a rate, the number of people he saved will equal the number killed by about three thousand and ten.”
On the island, the hero learns about the further exploits of the Baconon. It turns out that he and McCabe tried to arrange a Utopia on the island and, having failed, decided to share the duties. McCabe took on the role of tyrant and oppressor, and the Baconon disappeared into the jungle, creating himself a halo of a saint and a fighter for the happiness of ordinary people. He became the father of a new religion of Bokonism, the meaning of which was to give people a comforting lie, and he himself banned his teaching in order to increase interest in him. Baconon was raided year after year, but it was not possible to catch him-it was not in the interest of the tyrant at the palace, and the persecuted person laughed heartily. However, as it turned out, all residents of the island of San Lorenzo – bokononisty, including dictator Papa Monzano.
Frank Honniker suggests the narrator to become the future president of San Lorenzo, as the days of the Pope are numbered and he dies of cancer. Since he is promised not only the presidency, but also the hand of the charming Mona, the hero agrees. It is supposed that this will be publicly announced during the celebration in honor of “one hundred martyrs for democracy”, when planes will bomb images of famous tyrants floating in coastal waters.
But during the next attack of pain, the Pope takes painkiller and instantly dies. It turns out that he took ice-nine. In addition, another sad truth emerges. Each of the offspring of Dr. Honnikiker profitablely sold his part of the papa heritage: the lilliput Newt gave the Soviet ballerina whom he liked, the task of the Center to get the treasure at any price, the ugly Angela bought herself a husband working for the US special services, at the cost of the icicle, and Frank, thanks to the ice, right hand of Pope Monzano. The West, the East and the Third World are thus the owners of a terrible invention, from which the entire world can perish.
However, the catastrophe does not take long to wait. One of the aircraft crashes and crashes into the castle of Pope Monzano. There is a terrible explosion, and ice-nine begins to show its monstrous properties. Everything around freezes. The sun turned into a tiny ball. Tornadoes whirl in the sky.
In the shelter, the hero studies the collection of Bokonon’s writings, trying to find comfort in them. He does not heed warning on the first page of the first volume: “Do not be a fool, now close this book.” Here everything is solid. ” Thomas in Bokonon means a lie. Little comforts and the fourteenth volume of works. It consists of one single work, and in it one word – “no.” So briefly the author responded to a question put to him in the title: “Can an intelligent person, given the experience of past centuries, feed at least the slightest hope for the bright future of mankind?”
In the last pages the mysterious Bokonon is a hero. He sits on a rock, barefoot, covered with a blanket, in one hand holds a sheet of paper, in another pencil. Asked what he thinks, the wise man and the mystifier answers that it’s time to finish the last sentence of the Bokonon Books. It is with this passage that the apocalyptic narrative ends: “If I am younger,” Bokonon says, “I would write a story of human stupidity.” I would climb Mount McCabe and lay on my back, putting this manuscript under my head, and I would take a blue – a white poison that turns people into statues, and I would become a statue and lie on my back, terribly clenching my teeth and showing a long nose myself know whom! “