Nate D's Reviews > The Cat Lover and Other Stories

The Cat Lover and Other Stories by Wendy Owen
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Oct 11, 14

bookshelves: read-in-2012, stories, 70s-delerium, britain, previously-unreviewed, animal-lovers
Recommended to Nate D by: a glitch more interesting than the book itself
Recommended for: uneccentric cat people who imagine they're exciting
Read on June 14, 2012

Overwhelmingly ordinary. The back blurb suggested that these were strange stories, giving me a certain degree of Weird hope, but they're only theoretically strange in pretty pedestrian and predictable ways. I mean, of course the cat hoarding older lady put her dead husband into the freezer to feed the cats. Cats here, in general, are used in pretty obvious ways, proxy children and lovers. And when the stories don't go for uninteresting twists, they just unspool in a kind of aimless semi-realism that doesn't offer much insight. On one story, the ordinariness actually totally worked, "Bedtime Story". Because in universal disillusioning experiences, the often utterly ordinary form of the disillusionment is effective insult to injury. But aside from that... I didn't hate it my any means, it just turned out that this volume is as utterly forgettable as its forgotteness (as all of Owen's works, apparently) here on goodreads suggests.

So why was I reading this? Earlier explanation of the annoying route this took into my hands:

So I'd been wanting to read Tarjei Vesaas' house in the dark ever since I read the synopsis, but it was apparently relentlessly out of print. Then, a few weeks back, a reasonably cheap used copy popped up on Amazon and I snapped it up. The book that arrived, however, was The Cat Lover, a book of stories by publisher Peter Owen's (then newly ex-) wife, Wendy. Which seems to be even more obscure. And apparently in permanent conflation with House in the Dark, as seen in the inclusion of a misspelled Vesaas as an author, and the cover image of his novel (this must have come from amazon, and must explain how the wrong book came to be in my hands, I suppose). At some point I'll have to go in and fix this entry here on goodreads, but for now I'm just going to leave the full weirdness of this up there.

Oh, and I guess I will read this book at some point. Strange stories written from the 70s by the wife of Anna Kavan's publisher? Fine, okay, I'm curious.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Nate D (last edited May 15, 2012 11:29AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Nate D Oh, I will, it's too weird that this fell into my hands not to!

Another footnote: I ordered this supposed copy of House in the Dark one just after I tried to buy the one other affordable amazon copy (it's not even listed on half.com!), which was reported to me as being slated for destruction due to poor condition immediately after I bought it. I tried to argue with them ("but it's a rare book! don't destroy it!") but they refused. (this also happened, from the same dealer, with an Anna Kavan book a while back. Urgh, am I allowed to leave bad feedback yet?) So then I bought the other copy and got a book about cats.

Then, I just checked amazon again, and it looks like House in the Dark has just been reprinted for the first time since the 70s or so, so all this was unnecessary anyway.


Nate D No, as far as I know they still shredded the other copy, I'm afraid.


message 3: by Nathanimal (new)

Nathanimal Ha! Welcome to your very own Calvino novel. The second person narrative (you're part in the story) sounds better than the other parts, so far.


Nate D I agree, more effort should have been put into the faux-book bits to sustain interest across them.


message 5: by Nathanimal (new)

Nathanimal (you're your. Erg.)


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