Synopses & Reviews
In this unique memoir, William Jordan's chance encounter with a stray cat leads to the formation of an unexpectedly deep bond, one that will be immediately familiar to anyone who has ever fallen under the spell of a pet. Jordan reluctantly adopts Darwin and presently begins to capitulate to the whims of this fickle feline, eventually clearing a large emotional and mental space for his companion.The endearing memoir of their relationship is made fresh and irresistible by "Jordan's self-effacing honesty, his ever-present wit and above all, the unashamed nakedness of his emotions" (San Diego Union-Tribune). Through issues of territory and separation, sickness and health, Jordan observes the cat not only with the love-struck gaze of a doting pet owner, but also with the keen eye of a trained scientist, ruminating insightfully on the complex relationship between humans and their pets. In the tradition of Cleveland Amory and Caroline Knapp, Jordan charts the way his beloved pet informs his growth as a human.
"Jordan crafts an affecting story for cat owners." Booklist
"The author's self-deprecating style is what keeps this account from descending into mawkishness." Publishers Weekly
"Jordan previously found animals interesting only as research subjects....Then Darwin, a stray tomcat, came into his life and altered his way of looking at animals." Library Journal
In this endearing memoir, William Jordan's reluctant adoption of a stray cat leads to an unexpectedly deep bond, one that will be immediately recognizable to anyone who has ever fallen under the spell of a pet. When Jordan brings Darwin into his home, he is forced into a commitment more devoted and sincere than any he has known before. He observes Darwin not only with the lovestruck gaze of a doting pet owner but also with the keen eye of a trained scientist, and he ruminates insightfully on the complex relationship between humans and their pets. Through issues of territory and separation, sickness and health, Jordan's heartrending memoir of his relationship with Darwin is made irresistible by his "self-effacing honesty, his ever-present wit, and, above all, the unashamed nakedness of his emotions" (San Diego Union-Tribune).
Bill Jordan's life changed forever the day a stray cat nesting under his bougainvillea bit him on the hand. A reformed biologist, Jordan had no particular love for animals and felt vaguely contemptuous of those who did until the cat, beckoning with a wink and a yawn, led him on a journey to exotic lands, strange cultures, and fascinating discoveries. As their bond deepened and the cat's health began to fail, Jordan was forced into a commitment more devoted and sincere than any he had known before.
Puzzling through his own feelings, he came to some remarkable conclusions: that those we love live in the synapses and molecules of memory, and that as long as we exist, they exist as part of our brain. It doesn't matter to our neurons whether the loved one is animal or human; the mechanism is the same. Even so, the two relationships are quite different: A cat is a creature with whom one shares solitude; with a human being, on the other hand, solitude generally means a failed relationship. And while communion with animals is usually considered inferior to communication with human beings, the truth is that the need for companionship is a human trait. In the absence of other companionship, the human mind will grow around any living thing like a vine. Bill Jordan learned that the first time your mind grows around a cat, you dont realize you have fallen in love until its too late.
About the Author
William Jordan is the author of Divorce Among the Gulls: An Uncommon Look at Human Nature (1991). The Washington Post called it "a dazzling range of philosophical speculations about the meaning of life," and Noel Perrin in the Chicargo Sun-Times described Jordan as "a major new talent," adding, "move over, Stephen Jay Gould. Make way, Barry Lopez. Here comes William Jordan to join you." Jordan has a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of California. He lives in Culver City, California.
Table of Contents
Contents Introduction 1 1 Picking a Human Up 11 2 A Dogs Meow 21 3 Breaking Up 32 4 Inventory in England 46 5 Nuptials 61 6 Honeymoon Prognosis 64 7 Hope, Intimacy, Jealousy 71 8 Friendship and Equality 81 9 Hospice Care 95 10 Night Walk 112 11 Home Invasion 123 12 Sweet Epiphanies 150 13 Tender Mercies 166 14 Missa Felina 174 Epilogue 189