CAT AND I by Doris Schwerin


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Further memoirs from the author of Diary of a Pigeon Watcher (1976), etc. This time, Schwerin juxtaposes two sets of emotionally wrought narrative passages--her own, and those ""written"" by her stately, longtime cat companion, Willow. Oddly, the prose attributed to Willow is clearer and generally more perceptive than Schwerin's own rambling, often dense, philosophical waxings. Throughout the course of the book we are moved backward and forward in time. We travel back to Schwerin's troubled childhood at home; rivalry with her sister, Elizabeth; early years as a music student at Juilliard during WW II; first loves; first losses. And forward through her marriage with husband Jules; an affair; Freudian therapy; success as a professional composer; and the loss of her last living elders, Aunt Ponia and Uncle Zachariah. Intertwined through all of these turbulent sagas are Willow's own melodramatic accounts--among them, being saved by Schwerin as a kitten, and nursed back to health; raising two families; begrudgingly accepting a feline companion, Kelly; and, finally, coming to terms with old age and death. Though far from an uplifting autobiography, Schwerin's tribulations may prove cathartic for others seeking to lay old ghosts to rest.

Pub Date: May 9th, 1990
Publisher: Harper & Row