The Cat Who Came in from the Cold: A Fable

The Cat Who Came in from the Cold: A Fable

by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, J. Moussaieff Masson
     
 

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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

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.

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

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, 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.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Auckland, New Zealand
Date of Birth:
March 28, 1941
Place of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois
Education:
B.A., Harvard, 1964; Toronto Institute of Psychoanalysis, 1978, Ph.D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies, Harvard, 1970

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