I learned about so many new books after the last post, that I couldn’t resist hunting down a few more of my favourite, unusual cat-related novels and stories.
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, Terry Pratchett (2001)
We already know that Pratchett (sob) was a cat lover. His Discworld books contain excellent cat-characters such as Nanny Ogg’s tomcat Greebo and Granny Weatherwax’s kitten, You. Even Death himself has a fondness for felines. In The Amazing Maurice – a take on the Pied Piper myth –Maurice the cat takes centre stage. It’s YA-slanted, and in true Pratchett form, not for the faint-hearted.
Puss-in-Boots, Angela Carter (in The Bloody Chamber, 1979)
A fabulously bawdy, commedia dell’arte take on the classic Puss in Boots tale, set in Bergamo, by legendary storyteller Angela Carter.
Varjak Paw, S.F. Said and Dave McKean (2005)
While apparently a children’s book, the story, and Dave McKean’s wonderful integrated illustrations, speak to all ages (and all cat lovers). We follow the title character, Mesopotamian Blue cat Varjak Paw, who is forced to leave an isolated existence for the world Outside.
The Alchymist’s Cat, Robin Jarvis (1994)
Part One of the Deptford Histories series, master-of-heartbreak Jarvis tells a tale set in 1660s London, of an evil apothecary and his three rescued cats; Jupiter, Dab and Leech… Dark, well written and intensely memorable. (It’s still with me, fifteen years after first reading it).
The Mousehole Cat, Antonia Barber and Nicola Bayley (1990)
Oh, I love this book! It’s an adorable and beautifully illustrated tale based on the legends surrounding Tom Bawcock’s Eve, celebrated in the Cornish village of Mousehole (pronounced “Mauzel”) every year on the 23rd December. Old Tom the fisherman must brave the elements with his courageous cat, Mowzer, in an attempt to calm the ferocious Storm Cat and save the village. A purrfect Cornish Christmas yarn.
Lili Hayward is the author of The Cat of Yule Cottage, published by Hodder & Stoughton, currently available in paperback for £7.99, and e-book for only £0.99p!