A Delightful Conversation Featuring Lorrie Moore and Deborah Treisman, Fiction Editor of The New Yorker
“You couldn’t pretend you had lost nothing. A good cat had died—you had to begin there, not let your blood freeze over. If your heart turned away at this, it would turn away at something greater, then more and more until your heart stayed averted, immobile, your imagination redistributed away from the world”.
Lorrie Moore is the author of the story collections Self-Help, Like Life, and Birds of America, and the novels Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?, Anagrams, and A Gate at the Stairs. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. She is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Anyone who has ever suffered the loss of a beloved long time companion cat will at once see the truth and profundity of this story. Five years ago my close companion passed away at nearly twenty, almost 100 in human years. Mr. C, also known as Charles, Charlie or once and a while King Charles helped me get through some dark times. When he passed away I told myself I cannot allow myself to love another cat. My family now has six cats, all but one were rescued as stray kittens by my daughters. I like them but it is not the same, they are family cats. This story helped me feel less alone. I am thankful to Lorrie Moore for this beautiful story.
It was originally published under the title “if Only Bert Were