Cat

Cat

by Pat Gray
     
 

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After the sudden death of his owner, the cat finds himself abandoned with out food in an unfurnished house. At first he consorts with his old friends, Mouse and Rat; one addicted to cheese and philosophy, the other to flashly Italian suits and style, but gradually he gives way ti his normal cat-like urges. Initially guilty, then elated at his new freedom, and the

Overview

After the sudden death of his owner, the cat finds himself abandoned with out food in an unfurnished house. At first he consorts with his old friends, Mouse and Rat; one addicted to cheese and philosophy, the other to flashly Italian suits and style, but gradually he gives way ti his normal cat-like urges. Initially guilty, then elated at his new freedom, and the beneficial impact this has on the other residents, the cat falls prey to a new and troubling vision of how the house might be, with more initiative and enterprise, and more discipline for the likes of Mouse and Rat. Gradually the cat unleashes new forces onto the house and the gardens things, execpt that, as he does so, he finds himself more and more alone.

An intriguing admixture of the classic in this genre, Art Spiegelman's Maus and William Golding's Lord of the flies, The cat cleverly explores the themes of love and friendship, of outsider and insider, of eating to live and living to eat, of substance and style, loyalty and betrayal, leadership, ambition and domination.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An insubstantial and somewhat precious homage to Animal Farm, Gray's third novel (after Mr. Narrator and The Political Map of the Heart) never quite comes into focus. Left in an empty house, the Cat--previously pampered with canned food and his owners' affection--learns to hunt again, much to the alarm of the intellectual Mouse and the proletarian, politically aware Rat. As Cat makes inroads into the garden (renting property to voles, for example, and thus discouraging their allegiance with those who would topple him), Mouse and Rat try to stave off the Cat's despotic rise. They discover the Cat's vulnerable area: he hungers not only for the deference of the various rodents he has cowed but also for the affection of humans that he once knew. Gray's satire thus at first seems to target the amorality of the ruling classes, only to turn its attention more squarely to capitalism--the hollow repast that never satisfies, the empty acquisition of material goods. The narrative doesn't gracefully fuse these possibilities, and so whatever incidental pleasure the reader takes in the animals' activities or in deft turns of phrase (the Cat regards his claws like "a fistful of razors"), the novel is ultimately unsatisfying, lacking the allegorical clarity and narrative payoff the reader is initially encouraged to expect. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
Irish-born Grayþs third is a dark and amusing political allegory about Cat, Rat, and Mouse, and how they get along after the sudden death of the Professor, the owner of Chez Maupassant. Grayþs second novel, The Political Map of the Heart, won the World One Day Novel Competition for being written in a 24-hour period at the Groucho Club in London. Although The Cat clearly took more than 24 hours to write, what it's about is less clear, apart from the fact that itþs not as obvious as George Orwell's Animal Farm (which Mouse is reading). Perhaps it's about British politics or the collapse of Communism? In any case, after the Professor falls dead at the fridge, having stuffed himself with desserts, and lies like the statue of Ozymandias on the kitchen lino, his face lathered with whipped cream, Rat and Mouse climb over the body and invade the open fridge. Next day, Mrs. Professor has the body removed and later sells the house and moves out. Suddenly, the place is swept clean, and Rat, arising like a labor leader, tries to organize the house on new principles, without Cat having the top post. Mouse, a spineless intellectual, is Rat's assistantþuntil he gets fed up and disappears. While Rat organizes the garden creatures, Cat falls in with Tom, who finds every night a good night for girls. "Pussy!" he purrs with a low growl. Then Cat takes up television and learns to speak like a human to the house's new owner, Mrs. Digby. Eventually, Cat takes over again, asking, "D'ye think Rat knows about accounts?" Cat is back, in Mrs. Digby's lap, while Rat and Mouse turn gray like old pensioners. Grayþs characters amuse in their parody of human beings, but not everyone willfeel an urge to read secondary meanings into their trials.

From the Publisher
"A dark, amusing political allegory..." -- Kirkus

"A stylish and witty parable." -- Scotland on Sunday

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780880016148
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/01/1998
Edition description:
1st ECCO Edition
Pages:
124
Product dimensions:
5.26(w) x 8.34(h) x 0.63(d)

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Meet the Author

Pat Gray was born in Belfast in 1953 and studied Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London. He now teaches politics at London Metropolitan University.

In June, 1995 he won the World One Day Novel Cup, by writing a 20,000 word novel, The Political Map of the Heart in 24 hours at the Groucho club in London's Soho. A revised and extended version of The Political Map of the Heart was published by Dedalus in 2001.The Cat was published by Dedalus in 1997 and now reissued.

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