Rat

Rat

by Andrzej Zaniewski
     
 

Not since Patrick Suskind's best-seller Perfume a half dozen years ago has a work of fiction from abroad created such prepublication excitement. Published simultaneously in nine countries around the world, Andrzej Zaniewski's novel Rat takes as its protagonist one of the most feared and maligned creatures on the planet. Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus - the… See more details below

Overview

Not since Patrick Suskind's best-seller Perfume a half dozen years ago has a work of fiction from abroad created such prepublication excitement. Published simultaneously in nine countries around the world, Andrzej Zaniewski's novel Rat takes as its protagonist one of the most feared and maligned creatures on the planet. Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus - the "domestic" rat and the gray rat, the two basic species of the great rat familyhave accompanied humankind since the beginning of its existence. Throughout history people have created conditions favorable for rats and enabled the species to survive and prosper. In Rat, the author has undertaken the formidable task of describing the world from that animal's viewpoint. In a place of darkness and mystery, a rat takes us from his first moments of consciousness to his final breath. With uncanny ability, the author manages to lead the reader into the mind and universe of his protagonist, to transform one of nature's most despised animals into a poignant creature representative of us all. In the gutters, drains, and sewers in which the rat lives, we may identify our own world. In the rat's pain, our pain. In its fear, our fear and despair. And in its restless wanderings, with daily survival an uncertainty, our own fate. Rat is a powerful allegory about the laws that govern us all, about our mythologies, truths and lies, love and hope, loneliness and longing. Humans and rats belong to the same cosmos. Like it or not, we are near relatives, biologically and psychologically. "Don't think that you love and fail, win and lose, or live and die differently from a rat," warns the author. "A rat has created this novel, but you will find yourself in it."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The protagonist of this tense, imaginative novel is a rat who narrates his life story from birth to death. The enterprising rodent roams alleys and garbage dumps, lives in a bakery cellar, hops a train to a coastal town, boards a ship and lands in a besieged city at war, where missiles explode; later, he meets a cruel fate at the hands of humans. His is a life of constant fear, hunting and foraging, beset by dangers--cats, traps, cars, other rats and, above all, people, ``our greatest enemies.'' In relating this saga of struggles and wanderings, Polish poet and teacher Zaniewski aims to enlist sympathy for rats and to expose human arrogance and cruelty, especially toward animals. None of the rodent or human characters have names but, for the most part, monotony is avoided as the author casts his rats as sentient, complex, emotional beings without seeming to anthropomorphize them. Zaniewski brings uncanny insight, empathy and respect for all animals--rodent and human--to this literate, strangely appealing fable. 25,000 first printing. (Sept.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
A rat is born and survives his early youth, unlike some of his weaker brothers and sisters. As the rat grows, he strays from the nest and follows an older rat, learning the ways of the street. Upon his return, he impregnates his mother and another female rat, slums for food, and narrowly escapes feline and human predators. He then travels on trains and ships, explores cities, and tells rat vignettes (recalling, for instance, the time he uncovered a litter of baby mice and tore them all in half). He also has poetic thoughts: "Time passes imperceptibly, like the black streams of sewage and refuse." Zaniewski's novel braves the many possibilities of embarrassment in such a narrative exercise and largely succeeds in creating a compelling rat's-eye view of life. If you want to become an animal for a brief time, read this brief novel. Recommended for general readers.-Brian Geary, West Seneca, N.Y.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781559702621
Publisher:
Arcade Publishing
Publication date:
09/09/1994
Edition description:
1st English-language ed
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.76(d)

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