THE LANGUAGE OF CATS And Other Stories by Spencer Holst


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The world should feel rather pleased because Spencer Hoist has finally gotten around to sharing his stories with it -- he used to print them up himself in tiny underground editions, pre-publication sell-outs known to most only through fantastic hearsay, ""I've never seen the creature myself, but of course it exists."" His stories (the term covers a range from one-paragraph nuggets to full-blown fables) exist on just that level, a kind of Nursery Time Twilight Zone where talking animals, millionaire Playboy recluses, goblins, drunks, subways, the British royal family, wishes, costumes, spooks -- and we musn't forget the author -- enjoy a casual coexistence. It's storytelling which just happens to be written down, and its biggest kick is a typically oral trickery -- for example, the gypsy who has taught his monkey to steal jewels only to have it return one night with the cursed Hope Diamond (the tale goes on from there), or the Bullfinch who takes singing lessons from a goblin and ends up singing like a goblin. Some make whimsey a detour into unhappy realities (""The Monroe Street Monster,"" ""The Blond Bat""), and a few are pointlessly cute, but reading the best is like sitting at the knee of a delightfully demented fairy-tale grandfather.

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 1970
Publisher: McCall