Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Cat by Colette. (1933, translated by Antonia White)

The Cat, set in Paris, is the best book about a cat I have yet read.  Second best would be A Man, a Cat, and Two Women by Junichiro Tanazki, nearly as good.  Both focus on a wife's jealousy of her husband's love for a cat who was part of his life long before he met her.  

If Paris is the city of love, then Colette (Sidione-Gabreelle Colette 1873 to 1954) is her high priestess.  For many their image of Paris derives from memories of the movie, Gigi, made from her probably most famous work.  Living to almost eighty, she produced many volumes of writings of all sorts.  When she passed in 1954 she was given the first ever state funeral for a French woman.  

As The Cat begins a young couple are about to marry.  Colette does a marvelous job describing the passion of love, the infatuations of the honeymoon where neither can do wrong.  But in this marriage the wife has a rival, one who has been with her husband much longer than here, Sasa, a beautiful chartreuse cat.  Colette knows and deeply loves cats and it shows.  The wife demands to know who he loves more and she does something to the cat he cannot forgive. Besides a brief appearance  of his mother, an old servant, there are only three characters in the story, the man, the cat and the wife.

The Cat is not as famous as Gigi or Camille but for sure it is worth reading.  The estimated reading time is about ninety minutes.

So far for July in Paris I have read

1.  The Dogs and the Wolves by Iréne Nemirovsky 

2.  Mavis Gallant -  Two Set in Paris works, a short story and a note book entry

3.  Five Nights in Paris by John Baxter.

4.  The Little Paris Book Store by Nina George

5.  "The Problem of Summer Time" by Marcel Ayme

6.  "Love Under the Roof" by Emile Zola

7.  "The Purse" by Honore de Balzac 

8.  Gertrude Stein and her Family by Kathleen Warren

9.  "Czarist Parisian Emigres" by Joseph Roth 

Mel u

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