Book Review for “The writer’s cats“By Muriel Barbary, translated by Alison Anderson, Air Maria Guitar.
Summary: “Muriel Barbary, through her feline friends and conspiracy theorists, takes readers to her atelier, offering them a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the process and its problems, joys and disappointments. The story is told from the point of view of one of the author’s four cats, Kirin, who, along with her group, may or may not be a credible narrator. There’s Ucha, the leader of the gang, a tough guy with a soft heart; Mizo with affectionate and affectionate legs, Ucha’s sister; The phlegmatic and refined Peter, a lover of flowers; And finally, the beautiful Kirin, the narrator of this wizarding story.“
age: Adult; Genres: Literature, Fiction, Humor; Definitions: Contemporary, France; Other categories: Novel, illustrated, magical realism.
Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of cats. No, I’m not only allergic to them, but I find them scary and they scare me. However, I am a fan of Muriel Barbary and could not resist taking down this little illustrated novella. And that’s little; Only 80 pages long, which means even I could finish it in just two sessions. That means it will be a very quick read to everyone else – one short session should do that.
Plus, you know, once you start smiling within seconds of starting to read something, you do not want to stop what you are doing. Yes, sure, life was a bit of a hassle and I had to leave it for a few hours, but I read to the end as soon as I got back to it. It basically means I was finally able to finish a book in one day! (Is it cheating I did it in such a short job? No, it’s not, if you ask me; then here it is!)
But all that aside, what exactly will you get with this book? Well, what you get is a description of a cat and what it’s like to live with the author. Yes, you probably already know that I’m not a fan of narrators who are but human beings, and even if that person dies today, I prefer that they be alive while they tell the story I am reading. However, … and this is a big However, I am always willing to accept an exception to the rule, and Barbary has managed to do just that with this tiny book.
Look, even though I still will not accept that these cats wrote this little story, I can accept it as a cute mechanic that the author will talk about herself, without writing an autobiography. By using these cats, Barbary can focus on a very narrow part of her daily life, thus only talking about what she finds as a strange component of how she works as a writer. It’s kind of like putting a small hand mirror to the writing process, without it getting tired or stuck in the kind of details that readers might find boring. Clearly Barbary probably thinks her work life is on the everyday side, otherwise she would have written the book in her own voice.
Now you should know that if you get the kindle file for it, and read it on one of the readers which is black and white, unlike any of the tablet eReaders, you probably will not get the full effect of the illustrations here. It’s a bit of a shame, if you ask me, because many of these paintings came out very small on my Paperwhite, and of course, there were no paints. Yes, I can see from reviews and other sites that are mostly colorless, with shades of orange that break down the gray. Still, I think it might be better to read it in print, to fully appreciate these images. I could see enough to say that they are quite cute and designed to be more like cartoons than accurate descriptions, which works perfectly with the subject (and the “number”).
All in all, this is by no means a masterpiece by any means, but a really charming piece that is a particularly quick and enjoyable read. In fact, I loved it enough to think about ordering a printed copy, so that I could have the overall experience of this book. For all this I can highly recommend this novella, and I think it deserves four out of five very charming stars. (And no, it did not change my mind about cats in general, I fear. Even so, if I have to encounter cats, I prefer them that way than in real life!)
European editions have released The Writer’s Cats by Muriel Barbary, translated by Alison Anderson, and illustrated by Maria Guitar in October, 2021, but this book will be available in the US on November 9, 2021. This book is (or will be) available (Via the following affiliate links) m Amazon, God Book Depository UK And Book Library in the USA (Worldwide free shipping), Water stones, WHSmith, Wordery UK and Words in the USA, Walmart (Kobo) USA (Ebooks And audio books), the site eBooks.com, Booksamillion.com, iTunes (iBooks and Recorded books), New or used from Alibris, Used from Better World Books (Promoting libraries and world literature), as well as from and from Bookshop.org and UK. book store (To support independent bookstores, especially during the COVID-19 epidemic) or Indibound Shop next to you. I want to thank the publishers for sending me the ARC of this novel through Edelweiss.