The Cat Who Came in from the Cold: A Fable

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling author of The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats and Dogs Never Lie About Love, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson has given cat lovers a wonderful gift: a magical holiday story about a feline named Billi, who long ago, in ancient India, becomes the first cat to choose domestication.

Cats relish independence and Billi is no exception. He wanders through the Indian countryside among other animals, enjoying a sense of freedom, ...
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New York 2004 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. GIFT-ABLE FIRST EDITION; pages crisp and clean, not a mark, NEW HARDCOVER w/DJ NEW AS SHOWN; GIFT-ABLE AS NEW ... FIRST Sewn binding. Embossed paper over boards. 128 p. Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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2004 Hardback Bargain Price New Book SubTitle/Content: ['just so story' of how, long ago, an Indian cat discovered human company/domestication (Kipling not acknowledged! ); ... "full of guidance, but its virtue is simply pleasure"-Doris Lessing] 2004. 111pp. *****PLEASE NOTE: This item is shipping from an authorized seller in Europe. In the event that a return is necessary, you will be able to return your item within the US. To learn more about our European sellers and policies see the BookQuest FAQ section***** Read more Show Less

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling author of The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats and Dogs Never Lie About Love, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson has given cat lovers a wonderful gift: a magical holiday story about a feline named Billi, who long ago, in ancient India, becomes the first cat to choose domestication.

Cats relish independence and Billi is no exception. He wanders through the Indian countryside among other animals, enjoying a sense of freedom, belonging to nobody. The holidays approach, Diwali, the Festival of Lights; the monsoon season, when the skies go pitch dark and the rains come, has arrived. At a time when everyone is eager to be home with family and friends, Billi is alone . . . and lonely.
Walking into a village, Billi gazes through windows and sees a cozy fire, a content dog, a happy family with children. Inspired, an untamed soul begins the transformative journey to a new life of warmth and togetherness in a world of interconnectedness.
With his inimitable storytelling gifts and his unparalleled ability to penetrate the feline psyche, Jeffrey Masson captures Billi’s inner world–his aloofness, mischievousness, and ultimately his new perspective on the deep connection shared by humans and their feline friends.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A Sanskrit scholar and former projects director of the Sigmund Freud Archives, Masson is best known for his sensitive exploration of animal psychology in books such as the bestselling When Elephants Weep. In this sentimental, didactic fable, Masson imagines how the lone nonsocial domesticated animal came to share hearth and home. Billi, an Asian leopard cat, lives in a mango forest in ancient India. He enjoys his independence, but he feels pangs of loneliness and curiosity about the "two-foots." He learns their languages-Hindi, Malayam and Sanskrit-and he can "see the appeal of south India's three major religions." Billi embarks on a quest to learn more about humans by discovering what their animals think of them. A water buffalo mourns being underappreciated; a parrot bemoans his cage; a mongoose tells a chilling story about human ingratitude. Humans worship you, Billi says to a cow. "Oh, great," the cow says. "That and five rupees will get you a chapati." Nine months of travel and no truly good word for humans leaves Billi undeterred, and, back home, he seeks out a young girl he'd often watched. It's not easy proving his good intentions or trying to be "the only animal to have a mutually satisfying relationship with humans." But Billi makes it happen in a story that's heartwarming but only for the passionate aelurophile. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The fable of an outdoor cat named Billie in ancient India who decides that domestication is better. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Masson, author of popular nonfiction that explores the emotional lives of animals, mixes ancient Sanskrit parables and sloppy psychology into an arch little fable that . . . explores the emotional lives of animals. Gather round, uncritical fans, and listen to the tale of Billi, an Asian leopard cat living thousands of years ago in India. He likes to hang out in his favorite mango tree and think deep thoughts. Why are two-legs (humans) always rushing around? That little peasant girl staggering under a backbreaking load of firewood looks as if she could use a friend. Maybe he should get to know her. But what's in it for Billi? Life seems so, like, meaningless. Time to get out of his mango tree and check out the wisdom of assorted Sanskrit philosophers. (These distracting excerpts are presented with academic exactitude, complete with fussy footnotes.) Billi speaks in the voice of a college sophomore majoring in Comparative Religion, with just a soupcon of surfer-dude casualness. Hey, how about that quote from the Dasabhumikastura! Is that Buddhist monk Kshemendra cool or what? Back to the philosophical road trip: a pissed-off cow makes it clear that being a living divinity is no big whoop. A brave, cobra-killing mongoose is beaten to death by a stupid human. A pet dog complains that his collective memory of wolfhood has been compromised by domestication. Then Billi meets this really hot cat, Moria. Hey, she wants to have his kittens-but is he ready to commit?Awful. Just awful. Agent: Elaine Markson/Elaine Markson Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345478665
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/26/2004
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.29 (w) x 7.51 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
JEFFREY MOUSSAIEFF MASSON, former Sanskrit scholar and project director of the Sigmund Freud Archives, has written more than a dozen books, including the bestsellers Slipping Into Paradise, The Pig Who Sang to the Moon, The Nine Emotional Lives of Cats, Dogs Never Lie About Love, and When Elephants Weep. A longtime resident of Berkeley, California, he now lives in New Zealand with his wife, two sons, six cats, and a menagerie of other animal companions.

Biography

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson’s career falls not-so-neatly into two rather distinct phases. In his early days, as a Freudian scholar and disenchanted psychoanalyst, he was an author-combatant (he uses the term “maverick” on his Web site), challenging perceived thinking on Sigmund Freud and therapy itself.

He rankled sensibilities, attracted often-harsh criticism and lost his post as guardian of the Freud Archives. He even became embroiled in one of the most notorious libel battles of recent times, alleging that writer Janet Malcolm made up quotes in her highly unflattering two-part profile of him in the New Yorker in 1983.

In the second -- and more commercially successful -- phase, Masson has instead focused his psychological insights on a community that cannot talk back: the animal kingdom. Beginning with When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Life of Animals in 1995, Masson has put dogs, cats, mongooses, etc., on the couch, explaining that they, just like their more litigious bipedal cousins, have feelings.

"A masterpiece,” said Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of a similar classic, The Hidden Life of Dogs, “the most comprehensive and compelling argument for animal sensibility that I've yet seen."

Even amid the controversy of the early part of his career, Masson garnered positive reviews for his translations of Sigmund Freud’s letters and his passionate critiques of psychotherapy. (To be sure, he garnered less glowing ones as well.) A former Sanskrit scholar, Masson was placed in the care of the famous doctor’s archives. But when his research in those same archives turned up correspondence that he said discredited Freudian’s theories about sexual abuse among children, he made those findings public. He lost his position and faced the wrath of Freud’s defenders.

In the Nation, though, he found support. Reviewing Masson’s book on the discovery, the newspaper wrote: “Those who bother to read The Assault on Truth will probably be surprised to discover that the book is a lavishly documented, carefully reasoned work, written in a straightforward, readable style, with only occasional polemical flourishes. The passion of the book is that of a scholar trying to solve a puzzle; only now and then does the voice break to reveal the bewildered outrage and pain of the recently excommunicated disciple.”

His translation of the letters in question drew praise from The New York Times: "The publication of The Complete Letters of Sigmund Freud to Wilhelm Fliess represents an important moment of truth... The general public can now evaluate at first hand the evidence bearing on the various controversial issues raised by the letters... Of more lasting importance, however, is the insight this new edition provides into the creative process at work in the formation of a fundamentally important scientific theory."

His 1988 attack on therapy itself, Against Therapy: Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological Healing was dismissed by many as a screed, but Time pointed out that screeds can sometimes also be wake-up calls: “Masson raises some intriguing points, even if he insists on doing so at the top of his voice. Psychotherapy is a big and largely unchallenged business in the U.S.; many of its practitioners wield considerable influence over personal lives and public policy. Once in a while, it does no harm to listen to an alarmist hollering that some of those shrinks have no clothes.”

Not until Masson turned to the psychological study of animals did he draw the widespread attention of the public at large. When Elephants Weep, written with Susan McCarthy, may have had critics pointing out that his evidence was largely anecdotal – the title, in fact, comes from a story of a circus elephant that collapsed in tears when it couldn’t learn a new routine – but an animal-loving public ate it up. Elephants has been translated into more than 20 languages and has sold more than a half a million copies in the United States alone.

That set the stage for a hugely popular follow-up Dogs Never Lie About Love: Reflections on the Emotional Lives of Dogs. A bestseller, it won praise from the Los Angeles Times for its risk-taking and uncompromising puppy love. “The strengths that this Sanskrit scholar,” she wrote, “brings to his subject are intelligence, originality and a refreshing willingness to go out on a good number of scientifically unsupported limbs in his enthusiasm for canines.”

Now for the felines. The Nine Emotional Live of Cats: A Journey into the Feline Heart, released in the fall of 2002, again won praise from Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, who penned her own ode to the cat, The Tribe of Tiger: Cats and Their Culture. "An affectionate, completely engaging book full of new insights into the emotional lives of cats,” she said. “Of course, all cats are interesting, but Masson’s five felines seem particularly so – and you don’t need to be a cat lover to enjoy them via these pages."

Masson’s turn to the wild kingdom has brought him financial success certainly, but he says the rewards run even deeper than that. As he told Newsday in 1997, “I learned more about emotions from dogs than I did from my psychoanalysis. I think dogs make better therapists than Freudian analysts… and they don’t cost as much, either.”

Good To Know

Masson legally changed his middle name from Lloyd to Moussaieff in 1975.

In June 1980, when he was interviewing with Sigmund Freud’s 84-year-old daughter Anna for the position to head the Freud Archives, he walked her pet Chow in the back yard.

Masson's long-term goal is to help his wife, Leila, set up a camp for children with chronic illnesses where they can learn alternative methods to diminish pain.

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Jeffrey Lloyd Masson (birth name, legally changed in 1975)
    2. Hometown:
      Auckland, New Zealand
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 28, 1941
    2. Place of Birth:
      Chicago, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A., Harvard, 1964; Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis, 1978, Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard, 1970

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