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.
Eileen Myles, author of Cool for You and Inferno
and#147;This is Peterand#8217;s best book and if you donand#8217;t know what that means just imagine your sweetest, most perverse storytelling friend asks to meet because he has a confession to make. When you arrive he informs you that he loves his cat more than life itself, or exactly that much and then he opens his shirt and shows you the cat tattoo and then he begins to tell you of his love and in a puff hours vanish and itand#8217;s absolutely riveting.and#8221;and#160;
Nick Flynn, author of and#160;Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
and#147;I am not a cat personand#151;I approach each one on a cat-by-cat basisand#151;yet Peter Trachtenberg is such a wonderful writer, and this book is so damn good, that I found myself carried along by its lucidity, its generosity, its deep wisdom. In the end, of course, Another Insane Devotion is about much more than cats.and#8221;
Publishers Weekly, 9/10/12 and#147;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 loveand#133;Trachtenbergand#8217;s journey proves entertaining and enlightening.and#8221;
T: The New York Times Style Magazine, 10/7/12 and#147;Another Insane Devotionand#151;about love, sex, marriage and especially catsand#151;is a hallmark of brainy discursiveness.and#8221;
Booklist, 11/15/12 and#147;[A] meditation on the meaning(s) of loveand#133;Trachtenbergand#8217;s lyric writing keeps the reader interestedand#133;making for a memoir that reads like a compelling work of fiction.and#8221;
Chronogram, November 2012 and#147;Spiked with intellectual digressions and unlikely graphics, Trachtenbergand#8217;s eccentric meditation on loss and transition is not your everyday cat bookand#133;[He] uses language as a flensing tool, peeling back layers to glimpse deeper truths.and#8221;
Chicago Tribune, 12/2/12 and#147;This is surely the best book written about what it means to love cats, and to wonder if they love you, since Carl Van Vechten's The Tiger in the House."
Hudson Valley News, 11/14/12 and#147;The seasonand#8217;s most eccentric bookand#133;Youand#8217;ll have many smiles and a few tears while readingand#133;The story ofand#133;the fierce and tender bonds of love between people and between people and catsand#133;The book, in all its richness and humor,and#133;tells us about loving a cat, loving a human being and where those loves can take us.and#8221;
InfoDad.com, 11/29/12 and#160;and#147;Sensitive writing, its focus on love and loss and the way the two sometimes merge, will intrigue people trying to come to terms with their own relationships (human and animal) and interested in a journey that proves as enlightening as it is entertaining.and#8221;
Bookviews blog, December 2012 and#147;Trachtenberg is a talented writer who tackles subjects in ways that often make readers say and#145;Thatand#8217;s meand#8217; or and#145;Thatand#8217;s my friend.and#8217;and#8221;
FionaMaazel.com, item about book: and#147;[The] most engaging, sprightly, smart, and moving thing Iand#8217;ve read in ages.and#8221;
and#147;What makes [Trachtenbergand#8217;s] story truly compellingand#151;and hauntingand#151;are the images he paints, the poignant moments with both feline and female that make up this dual love story.and#8221;
New York Times Book Review, 12/30/12
and#147;Iand#8217;ll bet you a giant toy mouse that you will adore this bookand#133;But then, this is not just a pet memoirand#133;[Itand#8217;s] about the torments of grief and separation as much as it is about the nature of desire and devotionand#133;Trachtenberg is an impish and intelligent essayist, his writing sinuous and sensualand#133;Trachtenberg is an extraordinarily perceptive observer of ca
Los Angeles Review of Books, 4/9/13
and#147;Another Insane Devotion is, at its core, a meditation on why we loveand#133; Trachtenberg deftly maneuvers between the personal, the historical, and the philosophicaland#133;His intelligence and wit as a writer carry the bookand#133;At the heart of the text is a complex and emotional mind working out some of the deeper questions of love, attachment, and loneliness.and#8221;
New York Times, 4/28/13
and#147;Trachtenberg tried to figure out what motivated the various women and cats in his lifeand#133;and failed entertainingly at both endeavors.and#8221;
and#147;[Trachtenberg] uses his curiosity, as exacting as his prose, like a microscope to map the development and boundaries of love and marriage.and#8221;
and#147;Even as Peter [Trachtenberg] searches for his beloved feline, he embarks on his own inner journey of discovery about himself, the meaning of loyalty, and whatand#8217;s at the heart of loving and being loved.and#8221;
Internet Review of Books, 7/17/13
and#147;A thoughtful and quirky bookand#133;If you love catsand#133;you'll probably enjoy it.and#8221;
and#147;A far-flung and highly erudite meditation on the nature of love.and#8221;
Portland Book Review, 7/23/13
and#147;Many readers will no doubt find several relatable recollections to keep them engaged.and#8221;
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."