Cat lovers won’t confuse the author’s verse with T.S. Eliot’s, and Bukowski fans will find this of marginal significance.

A curious collection of writings about cats, as the self-acknowledged Dirty Old Man of American letters celebrates his feline affinities and affection.

Not nearly as substantial, provocative, or even interesting as this year’s other posthumous Bukowski collection, On Writing, this slim volume features poems and prose pieces—mainly distinguished by the length and formatting—that focus on, feature, or merely mention cats. “I / dislike cute cat / poems / but I’ve written one / anyhow,” writes the author in “My Cat, the Writer.” Though Bukowski didn’t care much for most of humanity, he did like cats a lot. Why? Because as the title of one poem puts it, “A Cat Is a Cat Is a Cat Is a Cat.” The autobiographical pieces reveal that he shared his home with as many as a half-dozen cats at a time and that these cats would bite him, sleep with him (and wake him early), urinate on him, and fight with other cats. Mainly, they were indifferent to him, even his flatulence, and he greatly admired their lack of neediness and their self-possession. “If you’re feeling bad,” he writes, “you just look at the cats, you’ll feel better, because they know that everything is, just as it is. There’s nothing to get excited about. They just know. They’re saviors. The more cats you have, the longer you live.” Bukowski called them his teachers, and he clearly identified with them, especially the bedraggled and stray ones. Of a cat at the vet, somehow walking again after being run over by a car, he writes, “this cat is me. He came to the door starving to death. He knew right where to come. We’re both bums off the street.”

Cat lovers won’t confuse the author’s verse with T.S. Eliot’s, and Bukowski fans will find this of marginal significance.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-239599-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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