A simple tale of a feline’s journey that carefully details the plight of stray animals.

JOURNEY HOME

A CAT'S TALE

An author tells the fictional life story of a real cat he adopted, using his imagination to fill in the blanks.

Patches is a kitten born in a New England home to a man named Henry and his family. Economic woes and Henry’s drinking drive his wife and children out of the house, and one day he abandons 1-year-old Patches, claiming he can’t afford another mouth to feed. Patches wanders by himself until he meets Chester, an adopted feline who roams outdoors, and Buster, a street-wise stray cat. From these friends, Patches learns to forage from the local diner, find shelter and water, and defend himself in fights. The owner of the diner whose dumpster he frequents catches him and tries to set him on the restaurant’s rats, but Patches decides he would rather be friends with the rodents and watches them play pranks on the establishment. The advent of winter presents new challenges for Patches, and he must rely on his wits and new friends to prevail. Throughout the novel, Plante’s (Solar Energy, Photovoltaics, and Domestic Hot Water, 2014, etc.) affection and passion for animals are quite evident and his concern is admirable—even if it occasionally comes off as preachy when the narrative diverts from the plot to elaborate on the reasons that a cat should not be allowed outside. Patches gets into some bad scrapes, but his troubles seem to be resolved a bit too easily at times—he quickly makes friends with most of the animals he encounters and doesn’t seem to have enemies for very long. He spends the book going from one predicament to another, just trying to survive, but the ending brings the story full circle. While the settings are vividly described, the characters are often portrayed through telling rather than showing—as in this introduction of a human character: “His attitude towards others was not a positive one, so he never helped other people, animals, or essentially even himself for that matter.” Even so, cat lovers should enjoy this work.

A simple tale of a feline’s journey that carefully details the plight of stray animals.

Pub Date: Feb. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-940707-86-0

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Whimsical Publications

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2017

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

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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A LITTLE LIFE

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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