Slow but maintains an entertaining feline perspective—ultimately for cat lovers only.


Hamblen’s fiction debut narrates the adventures of one woman’s many cats—during life as well as after death.

Jane, the epitome of a cat lady, adopts kittens William and Tibby—two cats in a long line of feline companions who have known Jane as “Second Mom.” Like other books told from animals’ perspectives (A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Martin), this one features a creative, realistic portrayal of a cat’s-eye view of life. For example, William and Tibby quickly learn that domesticated life has many ups and downs. On one hand, nothing beats sardines and cream or the joy of hunting in nearby fields. But the cats must also brave trips to the vet and try not to upset “Hon” (Jane’s husband). It’s often entertaining to consider the cats’ point of view, as when they describe Jane’s cars as “the two beasts that lurked in the garage” or worry that “the vacuum cleaner was on the prowl with Second Mom in close pursuit.” One night, William gets hit by a car, ending his life. He immediately wakes up in heaven where he is greeted by Third Mom, another kind woman, and all of Jane’s previous cats. As William acclimates to heaven and his new companions, Jane continues to tend cat after cat as she ages, leading to her posthumous and glorious reunion with her eager family of felines. This book’s leisurely plot has moments of tension, such as when the cats get stuck in a tree or have mild tiffs, but most of these are not particularly fraught. Its heavy focus on cats’ day-to-day lives is something that will only be truly appreciated by those who love cats. Jane’s deep adoration for her feline friends sometimes comes off as awkward or cloying—she calls her cats “my little Tibby Wibby” and “William, my little glum-wum”—but there are also many heartwarming moments that stem from this adoration. Lastly, Hamblen effectively teaches Christian lessons about God’s love, having compassion, and the importance of growing in goodness “until we become perfect.”

Slow but maintains an entertaining feline perspective—ultimately for cat lovers only.

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-64140-526-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing, Inc.

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2019

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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