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A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat

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Marcel was not only Bernard’s cat; he was his everything. His brother, his friend, his whole world. And then he was gone.

One story. Two endings. Genuine and fictional. Which ending is yours?

What do you say to someone who is dying? And what do you say when that someone can’t understand a word you are saying? How do you comfort each other throughout . . . and beyond?

My love, if you go away in a few days, the world will lose its colors and darken like the land of Mordor. If you go away and leave me to wander aimlessly, alone . . . I’m afraid I won’t survive.

With nothing else left except for heartbreak and the world of darkness, how do you survive when suicide seems to be the only way out after losing your beloved pet?

If you like powerful stories, heart-rending emotions, and honest characters, you’ll love Bernard Jan’s compelling memoir.

Buy your copy of A World Without Color written in the form of a heartfelt and moving novella.

107 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 2008

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About the author

Bernard Jan

10 books214 followers
"There is no greater joy than to share what you love with those who appreciate it." - Bernard Jan

Bernard Jan is the pen name of an award-winning, multi-genre novelist and a poet from Croatia, and he has released five books in English.

Readers' Favorite Honorable Mention Award 2021
Readers' Favorite Gold Medalist 2020
Readers' Favorite Bronze Medalist 2019

A World Without Color is a true story of the last three days he spent with his cat, while Look for Me Under the Rainbow in a unique and gentle way sheds light on the plight of harp seal pups in Canada. It warms the heart of all readers concerned about our planet and its treasures. January River is a heartwarming cross-genre novel about five friends, one dog, and one river carrying a secret that will upheave their world. Cruel Summer is a gripping young adult cross-genre novel about an abused teenager from New Manhattan who only wants to skate, but they have other plans for him, and Postcards From Beyond Reality: The Selected Poems of Michael Daniels is a young adult poetry book written in character as the hero from his novel Cruel Summer.

His first two books were written at the beginning of the war in Croatia in 1991 amidst air alerts and illusory attempts when he wanted to believe and think that life is normal, that everything is all right with the world. He has published five novels, two novellas, and one book of poems in Croatian. Four of his books, including the book of poems, were translated into English.

His passion for music and entertainment resulted in his becoming a partner of Tom's Music Place, which was established in 2009 by his friend Thomas Carley Jr., whose objective was to raise the respect of music.

His desire to help others came to the fore during his years advocating environmental protection and advocacy of animal rights. He did volunteer work for the refugees because suffering does not know any borders. When it comes within your reach in your home, you simply have to do something. As part of his animal advocacy activities, it has been a great honor and pleasure to translate Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust by Charles Patterson into Croatian.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 60 reviews
Profile Image for Mischenko.
1,014 reviews97 followers
July 28, 2017
See my Q&A with Bernard Jan @ readrantrockandroll.com

A World Without Color: A True Story of the Last Three Days with my Cat is a short memoir about one family’s experience of losing a beloved pet, a cat named Marcel. Bernard Jan lays out his experience with Marcel’s last 3 days of life as the emotions pour out of him on screen.

I found this book on Goodreads this morning after reading one of Bernard Jan’s blog posts and it sounded like a must read. As a person who has many pets, I sometimes think about what it’ll be like when the time comes to let them go. I wonder when, how, and what sort of choices I’ll have to make. In this book, the author tells his whole story about what his cat Marcel’s last 3 days were like interlaced with memories of the past. He writes about the effects of losing a best friend for himself and his family.

At multiple times I cried and could feel his emotions. He expresses what he’s feeling physically, his thoughts and emotions, everything so raw and real. Despite the sadness, I love the way this author writes.

“And wherever I go, whatever I do, I will try to let you also feel a touch of the world through which we will walk together. I’ll be your eyes. My heart will beat for you. My lungs will soak up the scents of the seasons, and the music from the radio will lull us to sleep together.”

At first, I wasn’t sure about the additional ending. I felt like the fact that it was a true story meant that it should end the way the real story did, but it was unique that the author included an alternative ending for those that wanted a different outcome.

The events Bernard Jan experiences are something no pet owner wants to endure. Every once in awhile you read a book by an author and you wish you could give them a hug. This is that book…

You can get this for $1.99 right now on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited Members read for FREE.

Profile Image for Starjustin.
91 reviews254 followers
September 18, 2017
When I started reading A World Without Color, from the very first few sentences I knew what it would be like and I was very emotional from beginning to end. Bernard Jan put into this short novella, a lifetime spent with his beloved Marcel and describes how the very last days of Marcel's life were prior to his passing at fourteen plus years old. I am a cat owner and found myself identifying with the authors feelings and grieving process. I am not sure why more have not taken the time to experience this book and I see that many have marked it to read.

The author says to Marcel "you are here, you exist beside me, and I am grateful for your life." Very heart-wrenching in his thoughts to Marcel. " You represent what is worthy and should be fought for: you are a symbol of incorruptibility, benevolence, innocence, purity, kindness, sincerity, selflessness, goodness, friendship, and love, qualities that should inhabit every corner of this planet. If 'we' were all like you, we wouldn't need redemption." Such powerful words to write.

I loved this book and I highly recommend it to all to read. :-)
January 24, 2022
Bernard Jan tells in detail the last three days of Marcel’s life as his cat goes through its final stages of suffering from diabetes. This story is very emotional and touching, which felt like a self-professing love poem to Marcel – his companion and his love. The emotions are raw and unrestrained, and the difficult decision to stop the suffering by putting Marcel to sleep weighs heavily on his heart, yet it is the final act of kindness he can offer. “I wish I could be brave like you and look death in the face with equal force and dignity”
“My love, if you go away in a few days, the world will lose its colors and darken like the land of Mordor.

Your presence in my life is like a room filled with lamps. When you’re gone, the brightest, the prettiest one will go out. And leave behind the half-light of unclear shadows.”

The story will resonate most acutely with pet owners who integrate them into the family. It is very emotive for those who have experienced a similar loss situation. The poetic language makes it more personal and heartfelt, and it feels like an intimate letter, a gift, which will last as a final testament to his love for Marcel.

The power of this book is that it opens an old wound or fear, a wound that you don’t want to close, a wound that itches and needs to be scratched. You need to bleed! ... Again!

My Story
I’m not an animal lover; my wife and children are. I’m more the favourite Uncle rather than immediate family. We’ve always homed abandoned cats that seem to find their way to our house. They show up at the back door, scrawny and riddled with fleas and needing attention. Perhaps it’s my wife’s love of animals and the bond she quickly forms that has prevented me from establishing any unique connections. The last stray was an extremely nervous and timid cat that surprisingly only I was able to convince to come indoors. We realised she was pregnant while not much more than a kitten herself, and when it came time to give birth, we kept her indoors in her little shelter, and I stayed with her during the 8-hour labour. The advice from those that knew better was not to interfere; otherwise, the mother may abandon her kittens, especially considering she was feral. During the first birth, the kitten died as the mother seemed confused and unable to manage her newborn. The second kitten also died as it was only half delivered before the contractions stopped, and the mother gave up exhausted. I couldn’t watch this happen again, and when the third birth started, I actively got involved and physically helped deliver Jasmine. After the delivery, I ruptured her amniotic sac and massaged her chest until she breathed properly. A process I repeated for another two kittens – Leo and Jive. I presented each kitten to the mother and helped her clean and care for them. She turned out to be a wonderful mother, and overnight I became a midwife and stepfather.

Watching them grow up was so hilarious, so unique, and so precious. Jasmine was always the first to come and sit on the floor with me and be the last to leave. Her fascination was the laces of my trainers. For her last six months, her routine was to go outside after breakfast and later come round to my home office window, whereby I would reach out and lift her in. We would spend the next 15 minutes head to head showing each other affection, with purring and other sounds of delight filling the air. I would get my hand and arm licked in return for a kiss on the top of her head. She lay at the end of my desk on a blanket for most of the working day, only getting up to repeat the petting every few hours or get a cuddle in my arms. She would follow me around the house if I moved, and at this point, she became my sticking plaster, my family. She was amazingly affectionate, content, and devoted to our unique relationship. If I left for work, she would lie outside my office door until my car pulled into the driveway, and then she would meet me as I opened the door. I would pick her up, and we would hug each other.

On 16th May this year, a car killed her – 5 days before her first birthday. I found her body at the side of the road still slightly warm, blood in her mouth still wet, and her beautiful little face still so perfect. My brain shut down in shock, nauseating pain in my gut, and my heart was ripped apart. I struggled to remember how to breathe. The following day while we were burying her, I held her in my arms one last time and soaked her fur with tears that I didn’t even know were flooding down my face. Every day I glance at the end of my desk and picture her lying there looking up in expectation of a cuddle. Jasmine, I miss you!

I appreciate the author providing me with the opportunity to review his book. I hope you don’t mind me telling my story as part of this review. Maybe writing is the healing process – good luck with your healing Bernard.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,921 reviews35.4k followers
August 6, 2017
A special thanks to Mischenko and Starjustin. After reading both their deeply moving reviews- I wanted to purchase this book for our younger daughter who has two cats.

Paul and I have put two cats down ourselves over the past 40 years. The pain - sadness - and grief lingered for a long time.

In this short story we are witness to a beautiful love story between a cat and his owner and the family they are a part of.
Gut wrenching loss when death comes.

Rest In Peace Marcel ....
Always - always - sorry for the loss of our pets.
So sorry for the several friends on this site who've who have 'recently' lost their beloved cat or dog. My thoughts are with you.

Profile Image for James.
Author 18 books3,536 followers
December 20, 2018
When you lose a cherished pet, sometimes the loss is so inexplicable, all you can do is cry. When I had to let go of my ten-year-old shiba inu just about a year ago, it was a painful 2-week process. It is nearly impossible to put into words for most people how you go about making the decision to end an animal's pain, begin your own, and suffer the consequences. Not impossible tho, as proven by Bernard Jan in the second book of his I've read this year. Jan lost his beloved cat, Marcel, and shares the emotional turmoil he encountered throughout the process.

This book is ~100 pages covering the three days when Jan and his family know they have to say goodbye. His words and imagery are stellar... honestly... he captures all those emotions pet-parents go through trying to rationalize our decisions, understand the whys, convince ourselves we will be okay, and determine how or if we can lean on anyone around us. By showcasing Marcel's movements and struggles, we see the pain Jan's family has gone through. It is visceral and constant. It is harsh and definitive. It is widespread and menacing.

I had to put the book down several times as it brought me to tears thinking of my own pet loss this year. Jan is brave. He shares everything from the moment he adopted the cat to the treasures of their ~15 year life together. As a younger guy suffering through this, he's developing all his emotions and reactions to something he's truly not ready to handle. I say this not because Jan's not strong enough (he is), but because this is one of his earliest life experiences dealing with death. It is never easy. But to write about it and share those feelings, notions, worries, and sighs of relief when it's all over (even tho it really isn't) is remarkable.

Translated into English, the creators of this version are masterful in their descriptions. The comparisons... similes... references... moments... all bring readers to experience as closely as possible what the author experienced. If you've never gone thru it, it's probably not fully apparent. Human loss is different... agreeably more harsh in most circumstances, but when your pet cannot talk to tell you what kind of pain they have, you are the sole person responsible for deciding how to help them.

I felt the intensity from Jan's writing, and I recommend this for anyone who has a pet and/or is coping with [or the potential] loss. It might not be a good idea to read it as you're going thru it depending on what kind of person you are and how you handle grief, but it's something you should read when you are starting to recover. Thank you for sharing this truly humbling work, Bernard Jan.
Profile Image for Stjepan Cobets.
Author 13 books490 followers
September 1, 2017
Since we are all mortals, whether we humans or animals, always comes a moment that we have to leave this world. And everyone has stressful events in his life, when as leave someone dear whom we loved very much. In the book "The World Without Color: A True Story Of The Last Three Days With My Cat" by Bernard Jan, the writer examines his innermost feelings in difficult moments when his cats Marcel leaves this world. His pain and affection for Marcela can be felt in every word he transmitted to the paper. Love and loss are felt in every little thought and word, so the reader simply has to identify with his tough loss of someone he loves. While reading the book this sadness just affects your feelings and you simply must elicit a tear in his eye. Although the book is very sad, the writer shows us how honest love is great and when sad moments come to life. In the end, we remain the only memories and we can hope that we will in a parallel world to be together again. I would recommend the book to all animal lovers and lovers of true love.
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 2 books675 followers
September 15, 2022
This is an incredibly beautiful and touching book. The writing is excellent and the subject poignant. The fact that I was unable to finish the book should not be taken as a criticism; I lost my sister a few years ago and it turns out that this story was just too much for me at present. That said, the book remains on my Kindle, and I fully intend to read it in its entirety when my mind is a little easier.
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,765 reviews583 followers
January 14, 2018
If you have ever owned and faced the death of a pet, lived through the agony of knowing that “it is time," or, if you have a heart, live and breathe, grab some tissues, just in case. Bernard Jan has taken a piece of his own heart and soul and put down in words, his feelings, his thoughts, and the utter devastation of the raw loss of his beloved pet.

Saying good-bye and “putting down” a pet who is suffering is one of the greatest nightmares a person can face. Is it really time? What if….what if…what if…???? After the “deed” is done, the guilt is overwhelming, the grief is like acid and the empty hole in one’s heart is horrendous.
Bernard Jan’s A WORLD WITHOUT COLOR: A TRUE STORY OF THE LAST THREE DAYS WITH MY CAT is the true story of the last painful days of his cat and friend, Marcelle’s life. Mr. Jan finished his story with two endings, one the truth, one, ‘what if’ in the imaginings of anyone who would do anything to undo the loss they face.

Short, powerful, honest and heart-wrenching, Bernard Jan has only written what most of us cannot express, the pain of the loss of a pet. That pain is real and it can crush the soul. Beautifully written, in just a few words, Bernard Jan has given voice to everyone who has experienced his same loss.

I received this copy from Bernard Jan in exchange for my honest review.

Publisher: Bernard Jan; 1 edition (July 1, 2017)
Publication Date: July 1, 2017
Genre: Grief | Pets
Print Length: 62 pages
Available from: Amazon
For Reviews & More: http://tometender.blogspot.com
Profile Image for TeaAndBooks.
81 reviews94 followers
December 19, 2017

I received a free eBook copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

Writing: 5/5
Originality: 5/5
Style: 5/5

Firstly, I would live to give a huge thank you to Bernard Jan, the author of this incredible and heart-lifting novel, for sending me a review copy!

A World Without Colour: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat is an emotional novella and memoir about his last three days with his cat. This was a short read which only made it more enjoyable- it made it honest and not exaggerated. I truly enjoyed the main concept of this novella and how truthful it was. The author placed his raw thoughts into words and produced a moving read.

The novella felt poetic and moved me to tears. The way each thought and feeling was described was simply incredible. It takes a lot of skill to describe emotions and Bernard Jan has mastered this skill!

“My love, if you go away in a few days, the world will lose its colors and darken like the land of Mordor. If you go away and leave me to wander aimlessly, alone in this sea become wild, like a ship with a broken rudder and drowned sailors, and if I don't find comfort in the warmth of your body, clutched in my embrace at the end of the day, I'm afraid I won't survive.”

I myself have grown up with many pets including cats. This truly had me re-evaluate my own experience when several of my cats died and had me realise how tragic it truly was. I then understood why my family was so upset. Animals are speechless but have feelings and emotions just as a human might do and Bernard Jan has proven that.

“And wherever I go, whatever I do, I will try to let you also feel a touch of the world through which we will walk together. I’ll be your eyes. My heart will beat for you. My lungs will soak up the scents of the seasons, and the music from the radio will lull us to sleep together.”

The second-person writing style made the novella more persona and, as a reader, I could see things from Marcel’s (the beautiful cat) point of view.
I was so captivated by the author’s description of pain. It was beautiful yet tragic and this was truly incredible.

“But I care about you, as I would care about my brother if I had the chance to get to know him- an immediate family member, or a loyal friend to whom this faithless world gave birth. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but their words won’t hurt me. What I’m not sure about, but would like to know, is if I have been at least half as faithful to you as you have been faithful to me. Will you forgive me the moments I have devoted to others, which were rightly yours?”

“Sometimes the animals are so sick they walk on the edge of the abyss, but they don’t have the strength to jump into it. They wait for us to push them over the edge and for that they are grateful. Little one, I hope your fall wasn’t painful.”

My thoughts are with Bernard Jan and his family. The events he went through have honestly moved me and it was very difficult to read this book in one sitting!

I highly recommend this book and I hope that everyone takes a chance to read it! I also hope to hear more from this incredible author who has become one of my greatest inspirations.

Profile Image for Ray.
Author 16 books282 followers
January 21, 2020
This book just isn't for everybody. It's certainly for cat lovers, and by cat lovers I mean people who really truly deeply *Love* their cat with a capital 'L', but not for everybody.

This sort of memoir delves very deeply into the author's connection to his cat, and goes on and on about how much love there is. Tragically, the cat is sick and in it's last days. It's quite impressive that someone could write an entire short book about just these moments.

I think a narrative would have helped, some kind of plot, but the book is very introspective with a few flashbacks thrown in while overall being just in one's head. There is also a lot of detail about the cat's physiological situation.

Frankly, there is too much of the author repeating on poetically about how super super loved that cat is. Many people are pet owners who have had to deal with the loss, and it's not easy. I'd simply recommend a shorter essay about such a subject. For me, this didn't really work.
Profile Image for Stacy.
1,004 reviews91 followers
April 14, 2018
A heart-wrenching memoir of a man's last three days in the life of his beloved cat. Bernard had spent nearly 15 years with Marcel, his cat. It had become his confidante, companion, like a sibling, seeing him through difficult situations, as watching his grandmother slowly fade and die from dementia to through troubling times as the dangerous and frightening Croatian War of Independence. He had basically grown up with him, and what pain and grief engulfed him as he watched the life of his best friend come to an end. The book is also like a letter to Marcel chronicling those last days, and a tribute to the life and experiences they had shared together. The reader can truly feel the anguish Bernard felt watching his beloved feline's life be extinguished. I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Bernard!
Profile Image for Lilly.
373 reviews18 followers
December 20, 2017
I received a review copy of this book and this is one truly emotional story! I must agree, the connection that forms between a pet and its master is formidable. In this book, we have an analysis of this bound, to its most sensitive aspects. So I can only appreciate what the author managed to express in this amount of pages.

The writing is very emotional and it depicts very well his emotions and conflict. Any pet owner will identify with his story and with all he has had to deal with. I used to be an owner as well, so I can relate to some of these states. As well, the connection he has with Marcel is presented in detail. Marcel is no longer a cat, but a piece of his heart, a life companion. All the events they had to go through together are heartwarming at least.

There comes a point in the book where I must admit I stopped enjoying it that much. While I understand that Marcel is important to our narrator and I can understand the attachment he has for him (due to the large amount of sentiments included in the story, I cannot address the cat as “it” as I feel I would offend the author’s intentions), I believe it is pushed to the extreme a little bit. I would address some of those lines to my boyfriend, or husband. I believe, as much as one would love his or her pet companion, addressing it with “my love” is a little too much.

“A World without Color” is a truly remarkable story, just not a story for me. While I enjoyed the writing and I appreciated the remarkable amount of emotions that this book offers, for me it was too much. Objectively, I would give all 5 stars for sure, but personally, I cannot give more than 3. So let’s maintain an average and go with 4 stars. Still, I would not recommend this book to readers dealing with depression, as it could amplify it.
Profile Image for Leonard Tillerman.
159 reviews135 followers
February 3, 2018
Have you ever loved someone so much that you could not envision your life without them? A love so powerful that it continuously permeated your thoughts and intensified your happiness and contentment? Have you ever felt that way about someone? What if that someone was a cat? Have you changed your mind? If not, then I am guessing you are a true animal lover, similar to Bernard Jan who has penned this gripping and emotional novella.

A World Without Color is about a cat named Marcel and his owner, Bernard Jan, who is the author of the work. Essentially, the book follows the author’s personal journey with grief as he shares the last three days of Marcel’s life. Marcel had been sick for a while and it had reached a point where the illness and pain could no longer be tolerated. The peace and tranquility offered by death was simply too strong an opportunity to ignore.

However, it is not simply a tale which chronicles the last three days of Marcel’s life. Indeed, it is about the raw flood of emotions which Bernard feels as he helps Marcel along this journey to death. The unconditional love which he has for Marcel is not only shown in his sorrowful grief and guilt as he helps Marcel find peace and release, but also in the joyful memories and flashbacks of their past time together. The love and importance of Marcel is also revealed in the relationship Bernard’s parents have with him. They too are grieving the loss of a family member in their own way. The saying, “everyone grieves differently” comes to mind.

Bernard Jan’s novella is guaranteed to evoke powerful emotions in the reader. More than once I was reading the words through the fog of my own tears. This is not only due to the compelling theme of unconditional love, but can also be attributed to the author’s poetic use of language which help to garner these feelings. His descriptions and thoughts are beautiful and moving. From the joyful flashbacks to the inevitable death of Marcel, the scenes are completely enchanting.

When I first began reading this novella I believed it would really only resonate with animal lovers. Indeed, true animal lovers understand that our animals are family members and we love them as much as any human. Those who have not experienced such relationships could not possibly relate to this book… right? Wrong! The theme of unconditional love for another being is captivating and all encompassing. It will click an emotional nerve in anyone who has the good fortune to read it.

When I write reviews, I am very careful to never provide spoilers. That being said, the reader should be prepared for an unusual ending to the book which will require deep thought. It will appeal to some and not to others. Personally, it worked for me as I found it matched the turbulent and emotional nature of the story. I was also able to personally relate to the unbearable depth and despair of grief.

5 teary stars for Bernard Jan’s powerful novella!
Profile Image for Rebecca Gransden.
Author 14 books210 followers
July 27, 2017
Death never arrives easy. Here, Bernard Jan chronicles the final stage in the life of a cat named Marcel, as Bernard, his family, and Marcel face Marcel’s death. The capacity for the depth of bond in an interspecies way has always amazed me. This has been illustrated to me very recently with the death of my own cat, Poppy. She was the runt of the litter, not meant to survive, smaller than my undersized palm when she arrived, but she lived for just about twenty-five years. I relay my story because this short book reflects the dilemmas and conflicted emotions faced when dealing with, and having ultimate responsibility for, the final breath of a creature greatly loved.

There is a default position, somewhat hanging in the ether, that over sentimentality directed towards non-human animals is indulgent and perhaps infantile: the “just get another cat” brigade, like one furry body is as interchangeable as any other, a vessel to be exploited for a particular purpose then exchanged for another to fulfil that role. The reality is more complex, to say the least. The novella is unashamed in validating the high emotions involved when dealing with any loss. Every loss we experience, even honouring the multitude commonalities, has its own very particular bite and colour.

For anyone who has had a feline presence in their life and then said goodbye to it, this account of not just the final times of Marcel but of the dedication, regrets, and sadnesses surrounding such an event, will be instantly recognisable. One aspect that stood out to me was the formidable determination of Marcel’s character, that in the face of illness the push to extract every comfort and affection life still had to offer strongly remained. This echoed Poppy’s battling and embracing personality, where the mask over her struggles remained because she wanted to be with the people she loved more than feel her pain. How lucky we are to have these raw and awkwardly pure relationships. Five stars because I read this at just the right time.
Profile Image for Olivier Delaye.
Author 2 books213 followers
October 21, 2017
Once a long time ago I had a cat called Pugsy who meant the world to me. I rescued her from the “bag-and-river thing” when she was but a scrawny baby and she ended up living a long and happy life in our household, making our days so much brighter. This book reminded me of her, taking me back if only for a moment to my childhood when my beloved Pugsy was alive. When the writing is this good, the mind travels through space and time and the heart follows.
Profile Image for Michał Hołda .
346 reviews34 followers
September 24, 2017
Book about loss of companion, and also the saddest sadness of any kind that author has experienced. All sensitive, intelligent people do feel that intensity of pain in such loss. Books like this makes you appreciate being alive and being able to feel ups and downs wave of pulse in life stream.

I'm glad that this story is a book because reading it in silence is like prayer, like tribute to this relationship and recognition that animal friends are just part of the family.

Ps "got a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review"
Profile Image for Gisela Hausmann.
Author 40 books364 followers
February 21, 2018
Jan Bernard's book "A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat" is not for everyone, but pet owners as well as people who have experienced tremendous loss, like somebody dying of cancer will probably love his words.

At the end of his book, Bernard writes, "Writing this book was a question of survival, it was not an option or a choice. This story is personal and very important to me, so thank you for reading it" which is probably exactly how named groups of people feel about their losses; in a way Bernard encourages them to do as he did - put their thoughts down on paper, celebrate past days and learn to cope with the inevitable.

Bernard's story of Marcel's (his cat's) last days is beautiful and sad. He celebrates every tiny glimmer of hope, "... You wanted to boast to Saša that you were doing better and let him know how much his visits mean to you and how much you appreciate what he does for you..."; alas, to no avail.

Buried in this book are two important thoughts:
(p.10) "... the bookkeeping service where I worked for three years before I turned that page in life and became fully active in the animal protection and rights association..."
Living with Marcel made the author realize what he really wanted to do and he went after it. It's a more humble expression of the concept "Follow your Dreams" which is uttered daily in the United States, yet so few do.

(p.14) "... humans have a choice: the choice between good and evil, compassion and cruelty, empathy and ignoring, and we do not use it. We do not use common sense because our stomach blinds our mind and everything flows through it. At least most of us..."

And, the final question, "... If you, my star, die out, I don’t know what will happen to this constellation called your family..."
Having been there, having to put down my first cat Dixie, I know how it feels but eventually I learned that Bernard is wrong in thinking "... Adopting someone after you, after all we’ve been through together, seems like a betrayal..." and adopted first Artemis and then Yin-Yang as a playmate for Artemis. All three, the late Dixie, as well as now Artemis and Yin-Yang are part of my family.

The author writes he is a poet too. Well, I believe it, his book is poetic and beautiful.
Highly recommended to cat lovers and people who have experienced tremendous loss. I am both.
5 stars,
Gisela Hausmann, author & blogger
Profile Image for Nico Genes.
Author 5 books118 followers
August 15, 2018
The writing style of the author is simply beautiful; honest, poetic and full of emotions. I could feel his love for his dear cat, Marcel, and it made me think that some humans aren't capable to feel the same for another human being. And it is really a pity. I knew from the beginning that it will be an emotional, heartbreaking story, but I was impressed with how the author managed to transmit some of his thoughts and I do applaud him for the strong messages. Yes, it is a sad novella and I could feel tears in the corner of my eyes quite often. I felt lucky I never got to experience the tragic past days, months of pain, the loss of a pet, but I also felt admiration for what the author stands for. I am sure that Marcel was the happiest cat in the world. If only all the animals would face the same destiny. Or humans? We can do much more to make this world a better place. What is stopping us?

Type of reader: Lovers of animals, readers of memoirs and anyone else that searches for an emotional read.

My favorite quotes from this book:

“But we, humans, have a choice: the choice between good and evil, compassion and cruelty, empathy and ignoring, and we do not use it. We do not use common sense because our stomach blinds our mind and everything flows through it. At least most of us.”

“There are the days when I feel like one of them—a hypocrite—when I am not persistent enough, stubborn and determined enough...”

“I challenge death to the last duel. Defying it with the strength, I wish to believe, of not-wasted life. My actions will speak for or against me. And one monument I built.”

More book reviews on: https://www.nicojgenes.com/book-reviews
Profile Image for Stephanie Jane.
Author 2 books229 followers
February 10, 2022
See more of my reviews on my vegan book blog, HirlGrend

I initially spotted A World Without Color when author Rebecca Gransden reviewed it on Goodreads. She loved this memoir and I had loved her books so I hoped Bernard Jan's writing would appeal to me as much as it did to Rebecca. It certainly did!

A World Without Color is Bernard Jan's intensely emotional memories of his cat, Marcel's, last three days and nights of life. Jan's writing is raw with grief yet also beautifully sentimental. He remembers happy moments in Marcel's life and how this cat became as much as part of the family as if he were human. I found myself sometimes welling up as Jan's words brought back memories of my childhood cat. I did often feel upset as I read his words and it's a measure of his delicate touch as a writer that, despite the heartfelt emotion displayed throughout A World Without Color, the memoir is ultimately uplifting and I came away from it almost with a sense of peace at having worked through more of my own bereavement losses, both animal and human.

Readers should be aware that this memoir is likely to trigger negative thoughts and perhaps care should be taken not to read it if one is too close to a bereavement of one's own. However, in the same way as reading A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness), I actually found being given such unrestrained access to Jan's grief was beneficial in dealing with my own.
Profile Image for Justin.
167 reviews27 followers
August 11, 2017
This book is incredibly well written the only reason i gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is purely down to how hard and upsetting it was to read which is just a credit to how well it was written. Unfortunately it was that upsetting to read i nearly struggled to sit and carry on which is why i had to knock it down a star. Well worth a read if you feel as though you are up to it.
Profile Image for Stefan Vucak.
Author 31 books123 followers
November 15, 2017
Bernard is standing vigil over his terminally ill cat, caressing it, helping it feed, watching it, remembering the good days they had. He fleetingly considers putting it down to relieve its pain and misery, but decided against it. As long as the cat had life and a will to fight, he would let it live. The cat helped him cope with his grandmother’s dementia, and now, it was his turn to stand watch over his dearest pet. Watching the cat, he reminisces about the good times they had together. Realizing the cat will die soon, he feels some color and vibrancy will vanish from the world. He wondered if cats had dreams and what his cat dreamt about in its final days. He decides he will never get another pet, the pain of letting go after years of attachment would be too painful. Bernard finds the process of putting down his cat, making its passing a beautiful thing, particularly painful. Afterward, he and has his family offer each other mutual support.

In ‘A World Without Color’, a moment of true life, Bernard Jan takes readers through a somber and thoughtful journey of mental anguish, reflection, and shared suffering over a beloved pet he cannot save. It is a journey filled with vivid images, little anecdotes of shared events, regrets and helplessness to alter time. It is also a dark journey which some readers will not want to face, or have already faced after losing a loved one, but Bernard Jan walks readers through his sorrow with unusual sensitivity and insight. His emotions are palpable, and I was caught up in his sorrow, watching his pet slowly die, unable to prevent its passing. This short novella is beautifully written and easy to read, leaving me pondering the fleeting nature of time and life.
Profile Image for Bibiana Krall.
Author 28 books189 followers
September 30, 2017
An usually private, and honest narrative delving into the relationship between a beloved cat and a human.

This is not a "pet" story. Rather, it is a love story of a giving friendship that takes us well past the every day and into the deepest part of what makes humans and other animals emotional beings. I was unsure as I read how I felt about this, never having experienced this depth with an animal, because I grew up on a farm. You can't get too close, not ever.

Allowing the words to wash over me, the poetic rendering of war outside the windows, the departure of a writer's flowery artiface to potentially over explain a relationship was thankfully not abused and I connected to the purity of the words themselves. For some reason as I read, I was reminded of the tone of the novel, "It's a Brave, New World." The heartbreaking aspects of animal cruelty, war and a search for peace, external and internal comes into play. This is not the same genre as the book I compared it to, but the message is there. I recommend this short story to anyone who has ever lost a beloved pet, but also to the elevated reader who enjoys a story with a strong undercurrent of social responsibility and a dystopian reflection of our world, as I often view it myself.

"The intellectual superiority and developed, modern, mechanized killing systems."
Profile Image for Taylor Watkins.
37 reviews2 followers
July 15, 2018
Croatian author Bernard Jan approached me on Twitter and offered me a copy of his memoir, A World Without Color, as a free .mobi file in exchange for an honest review.

This story is a heartwarming and emotional ode to the last three days that the author spent with his cat, Marcel. Although I read far more fiction than nonfiction, I enjoyed the book and was honored that Mr. Jan would offer to share such a personal memoir with me and the rest of the world.

To see my full review, complete with a list of pros and cons of the book, visit my book review blog Bitty Book Nook: http://bittybooknook.blogspot.com/201...

I thought that this memoir was extremely touching, and I would recommend it to any animal lover, especially those that might be dealing with grief or loss. Mr. Jan, thank you so much for sharing your work with me. I look forward to seeing more from you in the future!
Profile Image for Leigh Holland.
Author 2 books17 followers
July 4, 2017
A World Without Color A True Story by Bernard Jan, 68 pages, July 1st 2017, Genre: Short Reads/Cats. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.
Review by Leigh Holland.
    As a cat lover, I had to check out this short read. This is a love story. It’s not a romance. Nevertheless, it’s a story about a powerful, moving, enduring love. It’s all the more meaningful as it is a true story. Cat lovers will see their own experiences and feelings mirrored here. This story is an intense testament to the bond humans feel with our pets.
    Bernard Jan describes the life of his beloved cat with such poignancy. His writing style is straightforward and emotionally moving. Happier times with Marcel brought a smile to my lips, while his deteriorating decline brought tears to my eyes. Most moving of all was the author’s profound love, devotion, and grief for his cat. Our pets live, love, and pass on, but they live forever in our hearts.
    My only complaint is that the author provided two alternate endings, leaving the reader to choose how the reader prefers the tale to end. I have never liked this sort of ending. Since this is a true story, I would have preferred the author stick with the true ending. For this reader, that would have made the book even more meaningful.
    I’d recommend this short read to those who enjoy tales of love, loss, and the wonder that pets can bring into our lives, though they are with us but a comparatively short time.
Profile Image for George Billions.
Author 3 books43 followers
February 11, 2018
Difficult and beautiful

This isn’t a long book, but I had to read it a little piece at a time. It’s really heartbreaking stuff. If you’ve ever loved and lost a pet, you’ll know exactly where Jan is coming from, and he articulates it perfectly. Oh, the feels! All of them! One of the things that got me was how he kicks himself for tiny, seemingly inconsequential pleasures denied while there was still time. He didn’t go pick some immature grass for his feline friend to chew on, and can’t get over the fact that he didn’t. Yeah. Years later, I still know that feeling. I’m sorry, George LaForge.

I’m thinking about it now and I can’t even write any more. This is a very difficult but beautiful book.
Profile Image for Genndy.
329 reviews7 followers
December 31, 2014
Iako nije posve stilski savršena, ova je knjiga jedna od najpotresnijih koje sam ikad pročitao i ostavlja dubok dojam na čitatelja. U tom procesu piščeva duboka trauma postaje i čitateljeva. Iako ova knjiga zbog toga pruža vrlo bolno čitalačko iskustvo, preporučio bih je svakome.
Profile Image for Shaylee.
309 reviews41 followers
March 4, 2018
DO NOT READ UNLESS: you are prepared to ball your eyes out!
Profile Image for Jasna.
19 reviews16 followers
July 13, 2018
“My love, if you go away in a few days, the world will lose its colors and darken like the land of Mordor. If you go away and leave me to wander aimlessly, alone in this sea become wild, like a ship with a broken rudder and drowned sailors, and if I don’t find comfort in the warmth of your body, clutched in my embrace at the end of the day, I’m afraid I won’t survive.”

My home is empty without her. My life is empty without her. My world is empty without her.

A World Without Color -- such a proper, yet painfully accurate title. So graceful and truthful, hauntingly beautiful. It implies loss, grief, the lack of; yet, it is soft, gently bringing in you into its meaning -- a miserable existence, which remains assigned to this here realm of the living.

I won’t go into details about all the health problems my lovely has been experiencing in the last two and a half years. I will only proclaim she was a warrior of life, of cuddles, simply loving to love. We have lost her four times already, with each new scare; fourth being her final departure from which she will not recover, or return. And she had endured it like a true, wise Zen Master, with calmness of a stoic:

“You represent what is worthy and should be fought for: you are the symbol of incorruptibility, benevolence, innocence, purity, kindness, sincerity, selflessness, goodness, friendship, and love, qualities that should inhabit every corner of this planet. If we were all like you, we wouldn’t need redemption. Nor would we need to sacrifice and kill others for our sins. The world would be the way it was supposed to be, and not this muddy, dirty and bloody quagmire wrapped in a false cellophane, in which we wallow day after day. Full of illusions and running away from the truth!”

I started reading this book immediately after finding out that she might not last longer than a month or two, end of December last year. I needed some comfort, some fellow human (other than myself and my significant other), who had dealt with it by creating art. After several pages I gave up. It was too much to bear, too close to home, mirror image almost; although at that point, my cat was not as severely hurting as the author’s. She was not in pain, she was still playful, she still greeted us at the entrance, excited we were home. We dedicated every second of our spare time to cuddling with her, loving her. She knew she was feeling better from all the medicine I was giving her, and she never held a grudge regarding my forceful ways. She was, and until last minute remained, very proper, very cutie. So we cuddled. We cuddled hard. We always cuddled hard. We were going to take advantage of the time we had left.

She lasted six month, to the amazement of the veterinarians who cared for her. It is small comfort to hear them tell us that we are doing an amazing job with her, that we kept her alive, in relative comfort, longer than they’ve ever could have imagined, or have witnessed. The last week of June she finally stopped eating, as her kidneys were no longer processing protein. She slowly stopped drinking water. And two days before her final hour, I went back to reading this book, while petting her, crying over her (trying to contain myself, not wanting her to see me like that, fairly unsuccessfully), already missing her, as I knew the end is very near. I read up to a point of the author says goodbye to his darling Marcel. I couldn't go on. The aftermath was awaiting me, and I simply couldn't follow beyond that point.

Why did I put myself through something that intense, during already difficult circumstances? I’m not sure. My subconsciousness needed it I suppose, as a buffer -- it was possibly a way to give me strength to make the decision that was inevitable without making her suffer longer than necessary, while at the same time needing to make sure she will not get better, like she has so many times before. Only two days later, as it became obvious she was now in pain, her eyes and meows asking for relief (our lovely was always a great, master communicator -- her eyes were telling and serious, her purring weakened in power, but never in spirit), we had to make the same decision. We proudly cuddle until last minute. We cuddle hard, we always have.

We said goodbye as we sang her cuddle song to her. We watched as her beautiful green eyes had turned to haze, to grey, to black; I held her in my arms on the way home, one last time. I gave her the rites of Orthodox Christians -- although I am not religious and have my own sense of spirituality that can best be described as “eclectic”, for the first time it made sense to hold a twenty-four hour vigil, it was clear why to light candles, kiss her lifeless body over and over, and feel her sweet smelling fur through my fingers. The rites were modified slightly to our life with her, which I feel made them even more meaningful. Rituals and rites are process methods.

Three days later, I finally finished the book. I was ready to sob and grieve with the author. To reject life, and color.

“But I see emptiness where it should be you. Endless emptiness.”
Profile Image for Sara Kjeldsen.
Author 12 books66 followers
April 5, 2019
A World Without Colour is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story of the author's final three days with his beloved cat, Marcel. His writing captures the agony of watching someone we love suffering and knowing that there is nothing we can do to help them. Sometimes we meet an animal who captures our heart and becomes like a best friend or sibling to us. To lose them inflicts indescribable pain - it is sheer, absolute hell when one we love passes away and must leave us forever.
Despite how sad this story is, I loved it because I could relate to the author's deep, horrific sense of loss once reality hit him that his cat, his dear friend, is truly dying. Facing any death is a total existential crisis - to accept that one who was once so full of life can suddenly no longer exist is one of the most difficult parts of life. This story paints such a beautiful picture of the love and devotion between a human and their animal companion.
Marcel is a fighter. Despite his deteriorating body, he holds on to what remains of his life, always fighting to get up on his own and reach his bowls to drink, purring to show Bernard, his owner, that he appreciates him and his company. The love from an animal is such a remarkable, special thing for anyone to experience. But it is so hard when they go.
I found it strangely comforting to know that other people have felt profound loss after losing their beloved pet. You will never stop missing them, no never, but in time, the incurable agony gradually fades away until one day you can think back to the happy memories you had with them and smile at the fact that life gifted you with such a wonderful connection with someone.
I would recommend this book to everyone who has experienced grief and loss. To me, this story is a work of art.
Profile Image for Tracey Quintin.
107 reviews7 followers
December 25, 2017
I've been wanting to read this story by Bernard Jan for some time. I first became aware of it on Twitter. I knew this would be a hard story for me personally to read as we lost our much beloved, Nibbles, 2yrs ago this coming New Year's Eve day. She was a daughter to me, through everything in life with her unconditional love, and like Bernard and his family, did all we could to save her and have her stay with us longer.

God only knows why I chose to read this today, Christmas Day. Perhaps as a message guiding me towards healing?
Bernard did a wonderful job detailing the last days of Marcel's life, his love and his family's love for their beloved furbaby.

Marcel knew how much love was surrounding his earthly presence and I've no doubt he guided Bernard in his last days just as he did thought his life with the family.

When people say it's only a cat (or dog), they are WRONG. They are just as much part of our family as a human is. The pain is unbelievable.

I felt your personal pain Bernard and now know I'm not alone in feeling this way. Some of the things you wrote we're exactly what I experienced.

The only reason I've given this a 4 star is because I got tripped up a few times and got confused with the writing and then the ending. That may be from the translation. I'm not sure.

Real, emotional, short memoir. Get tissues ready.

Be free Marcel, be pain free and play over the Rainbow Bridge ❤️
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