Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cat's Table

Lovely, lyrical.  The Cat's Table feels and tastes like memoir, with detail richly drawn from the memory of senses.

The main body of the story takes place over a period of three weeks,  as three boys make their passage to England.  Dinners are sat at the lowly "cats table" with a group of eccentric adults.  

The dreamlike prose is extremely rich with metaphor. The ship's passage to another continent and culture, three archetypal boys in the process of losing their innocence and childhood, a prisoner allowed to walk at night, a deaf daughter who swallows keys, a garden apothecary.  A floating world.

Although said of a specific character, this sentence could apply to the telling of the entire story.

"Twenty-one days is a very brief period in a life, but I would never unlearn the whisper of Cassius."

If this were a photograph it would have blurred edges and sepia tones, but be matted on a modern mirrored surface and held in place with a water frame.  Or maybe painted on the floor of a pool, then filled with water.

Not the typical unfolding of a plot, a bit of a jumble, with past, future and present entwined. Several reviews say this is one of the author's most accessible stories.


Annika said...

I've been trying to get rid of my "to-do-lists". Now, if I did have one still; this book would be on it.

Kurt said...

I read this as well - got it through Amazon Vine. Very much enjoyed it.

Diane said...

A I will zap it to you next Book Club

Carô said...

hhmm...just finished it. Book Club tomorrow. Felt like homework. It is beautifully written, no doubt about that. The story was a bit of a mumble jumble, back and forth, HEAVY OH SO HEAVY. Memories of The English Patient kept creeping back and truth be told, I didn't care for it. Quel dommage.