Insouciantly's Reviews > The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein
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Apr 10, 12

bookshelves: science-fiction, alternate-reality, reviewed
Read from April 01 to 07, 2012

I confess, the main reason I decided to pick up this book was not the author; I'm not a huge Heinlein fan, though his books are "classic" sci-fi, and I agree he is defintiely necessary to the evolution of the genre. I can admit to his worth as a writer without being a ardent lover of his writing style. I picked up this book on a whim, and because it had the subtitle of "A Comedy of Manners." If there's one thing I can almost always enjoy, its a narrative comedy of manners. Add in some science fiction and space travel, and how could I resist?

In my mind, I can break up this book into three disticntly separate books. The first third was filled with all the little details that really make "a comedy of manners" in my mind. We meet an ex-army man and his new (as of two hours ago) wife fleeing from the bureaucracy of space-station life after a complete stranger is awkwardly killed at their table in the finest resturant after delivering a mysterious message. They pick up a companion in the form of a man from the slums who was paid to kill them, but joins their side after promising not to kill them and help carry their luggage. They teach him about the importance of always being polite, and give him the charge of protecting the little bonsai tree they (for some reason) are determined to save while escaping the space station known as "Golden Rule." This third of the story is all about adventure, and travel, and about solving the mystery of why Richard and Gwen are being hunted down and who killed the stranger at their table.
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While I loved the initial set-up of the story, I ended up rather disappointed with the end. So many of the mysteries that intrigued me were never answered, or even worse, were poorly answered in awkward exposition that left plot holes an elephant could fall through.

The development of the charming and witty relationship that developed between Gwen and Richard was put aside in favor of annoying justifications for "free love" and polygamous marriages.

Had the story continued in the same vein as that first third of the book, I think this novel could have won five stars from me, but Heinlein lost the thread of the most important piece: the actual plot. His priorities were obviously more on describing his idea free-love society, and on his World as Myth philosophy. While I did find the latter interesting, I think there may have been better ways to incorporate it into the story than pure exposition and long non-plot centric conversations.
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04/02/2012 page 207
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Suzanne This is one of my favorites from Heinlein. Let me know what you think!


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