Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories” as Want to Read:
Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  985 ratings  ·  38 reviews
A cocky black cat that drinks cognac and can't stay out of holes, a hyperactive plumber who pulls out all the stops, an expiring jazzman who sells his sweat, a green soldier who moves into a terribly serious position - these are a few of the outrageous and poignant creations of Boris Vian in Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories. Julia Older makes available for the first ...more
Paperback, 116 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Bison Books (first published 1949)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Blues for a Black Cat and Other Stories

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,776)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Luís Blue Yorkie
"Ants" is the elegant term than Boris Vian chose to talk about the war. Ants, these are the ones that run the legs of the soldier who can not move because he stepped on a mine. He knows condemned and ordered his comrades to continue their journey without him. Through his eyes, we plunge into the most total absurdity military. The detached tone of Boris Vian is not for nothing: his atrocious manner to dwell on the cruelty of war reinforces the horror. Impossible not to laugh, of course, reading ...more
Henry Martin
In Blues for a black cat, Boris Vian's literary genius shines with rare intensity impossible to find in modern works. While I read a few of Vian's works in the past, revisiting this book was the perfect escape from the mundane world of today's literature. Without getting into any plot or revealing too much about this compilation of short stories, Blues for a black cat, is an insane, entertaining, humorous, profound, powerful avant-garde literary rarity. Vian's style remains unique decades after ...more
And now, here's some Boris Vian!

I first ran into Vian's work in Alberto Manguel's excellent anthology BLACKWATER (a story called "Dead fish", included here) and was intrigued by the idea of a surrealist novelist (as the Surrealists generally found that the structured, long-form narrative concept of the novel did not mesh well with the interior, psychological, non-narrative aims of Surrealism). I also thought his titles sounded interesting (who wouldn't want to read something called FROTH ON THE
Maria Espadinha
What a lovely crazy little book!
The best image that comes to my mind to describe it , is:

"Chaos Walking"

Can anyone find a better one? ;)
In Boris Vian's collection of short stories, the surrealism comes abruptly, without warning: in the middle of a normal set of events, strange things begin to happen, not strange in the sense of ghost stories, but in an unpredictable manner, orchestrated by the author's abundant imagination. I played along and followed the winding paths of dreamlike happenings, enjoying most of the stories. In a smaller or larger degree, they were all filled with violence, but Vian's black humour makes it way mor ...more
Corinne Stoppelli
On peut dire que Vian possède un style unique et reconnaissable entre mille. Sa façon de jouer avec les mots surprend de façon plaisante le lecteur : un auteur qui n’a pas peur de dépasser les limites d’un genre et d’allégrement rire au nez de l’académisme. Ce recueil illustre tout à fait sa capacité à faire de la langue sa matière personnelle.

Le thème de la mort est abordé dans les trois dernières nouvelles (L’Écrevisse, Le Rappel et Les Chiens, le désir et la mort) de façon non conventionnelle
There was a time I would have been much more interested in these stories. The author of the introduction labels them of the surreal school and also throws references to Alfred Jarry in. I found very few pieces of literature in translation that were tied to the various schools (a few plays, a few poems, references to novels and writers I could not locate). There is also reference to the writers in the College of Pataphysique and Absurdism. Sarte was a friend and a fan of Vian.
The stories are fun
Moje první setkání s Borisem Vianem, které mě nalákalo k dalšímu čtení. Sada nesouvisejících, spíše více než méně absurdních povídek. Unášející práce s jazykem, představivostí a asociacemi, jejíž síla je zprostředkovaná skvělým překladem. Vlastně ani nedokážu říct, čím přesně mě Vian baví. Nejspíš tím, že číst Viana je dobrodružství jazyka a představivosti, kdy ani v půlce věty nelze odhadnout, jak daná věta skončí a jakým zvláštním, často humorným směrem děj posune a kdo na konci povídky zemře. ...more
A collection of surrealist short fiction, well-written and just as eccentric and riotous as jazz, the music of choice of its erstwhile author, once was. There are some rather interesting moments here and there, but all in all, I was less than impressed with the stories - which are, incidentally, really easy to imitate: try it, and see for yourselves. Their seemingly haphazard structure hearkens back to dream logic and old, old magic tales, where the flow of storytelling and the inventiveness of ...more
Iluzija O. Istini
Trying too hard to be original rarely ends well.

It didn't end well.

After reading first story, which was an interesting experience, not great, but acceptable, a bit funny and a bit weird, rest became repetitive and as such painfully tiring. I got feeling that author isn't even trying to write well, but is all of his energy directing to be different. It just leaves taste of forced failure.

Don't even try reading this.
Matilde Real
I don't like surrealism for the sake of surrealism. Boris Vian was trying way too hard to be original and different, and I don't think it worked well. The book is very easy to read, it flows really well, but I don't find the themes very interesting (I only liked the story about the plumber and the one about the ants), it's stale and needs seasoning. whoooaaa cooking metaphor
I do like Boris Vian. I just read the line, It was raining octopi. But I don't know whether that means it's raining heavy or literally octopi are falling out of the sky. But does it really matter. His is a world where metaphors come true. (That's why he died at the cinema.)
Ana Cretiu
no... never again... I shall leave surrealism to the ones who feel it, it did nothing for me besides torture my little soul. Such a tiny book, such great torment.
Joao Pedro
Boris is one of my favorite writers and I have zero objectivity commenting on him. read his complete works, do a favor to yourself.
Probabilmente mi sono cacciata nella più difficile impresa che mi potesse mai venire in mente.
Boris Vian è un famoso trombettista jazz del dopoguerra francese (muore nel 1959, a 39 anni, per malattia). Forse molti lo conoscono perché ha scritto (fra gli altri) la canzone "Le déserteur", che poi è stata rifatta e rivista in versione italiana da Tenco (per chi ne vuole sapere di più sulla versione di Tenco: ) e da Fossati.
Beh, ecco. L'aspetto di "Vian come

Spoiler alert: you may find what will happen in the story here!
This is a very interesting short story, which makes me want to read more stories written by Boris Vian. Le Monde has included on its list of best books L’Ecume des Jours.

The name of The Ants comes from the ants climbing on the hero of the story, right at the end. The action takes place in the middle of a vicious war and I wonder if it was a “real „conflict or only imaginary. Boris Vian seems to be a very original writer, he also wrot
Páčilo sa!

Vianov zvláštny štýl mi prišiel veľmi blízky v Pene dní, ale tam bol ten štýl krásny. Tu nie je taký ľúbivý, je skôr veľmi drsný a miestami až krutý, ale svojím zveličovaním vyjadruje zlé stránky našej spoločnosti, pohŕda militarizmom. teším sa na ďalšie veci od Viana. A odporúčam prečítať si aj o živote autora.
I appreciate Vian's black humour a lot. These novels are concentrating on the sadistic nature of human being and on the indifference towards human's suffers and pain. I did engoy the nihilistic approach.
Rita Reis
Gostei muito. Conjunto de pequenos textos, onde Boris Vian brinca com os duplos sentidos das palavras e das expressões, e cria personagens sem sentido moral, criando um universo só seu, original e até inquietante. O homem que desembarca na Normandia e se queixa que não havia nenhuma recepção a aguardá-lo para além de tipos mortos ou bocados de tipos espalhados, por exemplo, como retrato da indiferença perante a guerra e as suas consequências. Devido a usar muito os duplos sentidos das palavras, ...more
Ileana Oprea-Sops
Dark humour and absurd fiction make for a nice read, but some of the short stories feel too short.
Beatriz Fernandes
Like many of his works, these crazy dark humor tales make you feel confused with what just happened (what you read). In their own peculiar wat, the storys have some kind of moral, or they make you see what happens if you do something instead of another thing. It describes the reality, the author's reality (not literally the real world), and some events that always have a bad ending for the main character. In an extremist way, he (Boris Vian) gives you life and it's ups and downs. Well,... maybe ...more
you rate a book 4*5* no need to explain you rate a book 'shit' they crane their heads
even DADAists themselves didn't consider etc.

self indulgent
he'd been a phillips fishmonger
It wasn't a good time for this book for me, it annoyed me, although I admit it's a pretty good brain-twister.
Très bon recueil. Des textes majoritairement sombres ou grinçants, mais qui sont à chaque fois de petits bijoux. On retrouve également le côté absurde propre aux univers de Vian, et cette langue toujours très "malmené" pour le plus grand plaisir du lecteur.

Tous les textes ne se valent pas (ainsi en va-t-il des recueils), mais dans l'ensemble, c'est une lecture très agréable.
Čavle Margarin
this site should allow half-star ratings. i would rate this two and a half stars then. although some of the stories were somewhat witty and amusing and i appreciate the concept or idea behind them, a lot if it is ultimately quite tedious and pointless. vian was an interesting character in any case. it's a shame he is so obscure today.
Dec 20, 2007 Tosh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: TamTam Books' Fans
Shelves: borisvian
The one Boris Vian title I didn't publish and wished I did! Vian was a great short story writer - all of them absurd yet touching. He has that master's touch in combining a lot of elements and making a great dish or some sort of magic.
The style of this collection of short novels is not entirely on my liking. I liked something about this book but I cannot put my finger on it and name it right now.
My copy of this book is in romanian.
Adorei! Contos do mestre do surrealismo francês com imenso sarcasmo, humor negro brilhante e uma imaginação delirante. Imprescindível.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 59 60 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Thomas the Obscure
  • Thomas the Impostor
  • The Supermale
  • Zazie in the Metro
  • Imaginary Lives
  • Manhood: A Journey from Childhood into the Fierce Order of Virility
  • Poésies/Une saison en enfer/Illuminations
  • Moravagine
  • Les Diaboliques
  • Les Filles du feu - Les Chimères
  • Zenobia
  • The Seventh Horse And Other Tales
  • The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories
  • Altmann's Tongue: Stories and a Novella
  • Messieurs les enfants
  • An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris
  • Proud Beggars
  • Warum das Kind in der Polenta kocht
Boris Vian was a French polymath: writer, poet, musician, singer, translator, critic, actor, inventor and engineer. He is best remembered for novels such as L’Écume des jours and L'Arrache-cœur (translated into English as Froth on the Daydream and Heartsnatcher, respectively). He is also known for highly controversial "criminal" fiction released under the pseudonym Vernon Sullivan and some of his ...more
More about Boris Vian...
L'Écume des jours I Spit on Your Graves Heartsnatcher Autumn in Peking L'herbe rouge - roman / Les lurettes fourrées - nouvelles

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »