Synopses & Reviews
From andldquo;a genuine American Dostoevskyandrdquo; (The Washington Post
): a dazzling, funny, bittersweet exploration of the mysteries of relationship, both human and animal.
When his favorite cat Biscuit goes missing, Peter Trachtenberg sets out to find her. The journey takes him 700 miles and many years into his past-- into the history of his relationships with cats and the history of his relationship with his wife F., who may herself be on the verge of disappearing. What ensues is a work that recalls travel narratives from The Incredible Journey to W. G. Sebaldandrsquo;s The Rings of Saturn. Trachtenberg ponders the mysteries of feline intelligence (why do cats score worse on some tests than pigeons?), the origins of their domestication, their terrible treatment during the Middle Ages. He also looks at the riddle of why any of us loves whom we love and all the unforeseen places to which that devotion leads us.
"With his marriage in turmoil, and his beloved cat, Biscuit, missing, award-winning author Trachtenberg (The Book of Calamities) attempts to parse out the truth about his love for each. History proves paramount in this exploration, and not just the personal. Through short sections of intelligent, often humorous prose, former and potential girlfriends and past pets are conjured in hopes of understanding how people can fall in and out of love. Trachtenberg explores his relationship with his wife from early dates to the day before completion of this manuscript, in an effort to deduce how they ended up in their present predicament. Trachtenberg also weaves in accounts of the ancient domesticated cat, famous literary felines, and artistic allegories. His literary flourishes are sometimes a stretch, as when the water cycle serves as an allegory for a cycle for love. 'Where on the grief scale do you place a lost cat?' he muses, following an exploration of Victorian mourning methods, and the reader realizes that nothing not the loss of a marriage or a pet can be felt so precisely. Even if the book ends with questions left unanswered and the fate of the marriage still tenuous, Trachtenberg's journey proves entertaining and enlightening. Illus. Agent: Gillian MacKenzie, Gillian MacKenzie Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
An exploration of the mysteries of love and marriage, pleasure and obligationandmdash;through the lens of cat ownership
In telling the story of this dual crisis and the search that ensued from it, award-winning author Peter Trachtenberg explores the mysteries of relationship, both human and animal. The result, a work comprised of small moments with large implications, is a double love story with the suspense of a mystery novel. Its also a dazzling work of vernacular philosophy in the traditions of Alain de Boton and Laura Kipnis.
About the Author
is the author of the memoir 7 Tattoos
and The Book of Calamaties: Five Questions About Suffering and Its Meaning
. His essays, journalism, and short fiction have been published in The New Yorker, Harper's, BOMB, TriQuarterly, O, The New York Times Travel Magazine,
and A Public Space.
His commentaries have been broadcast on NPR'S "All Things Considered." The recipient of a Whiting Writers Fellowship and a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Trachtenburg was also honored for The Book of Calamities
, which was the recipient of the 2009 Phi Beta Kappa Ralph Waldo Emerson Award "for scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity."