The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

January 2, 2016

January 2, 2014

Love All , (2009) contains, like most of the fiction of Elizabeth Jane Howard (March 26, 1923 to January 2, 2014), a moderate number of cats.

"[T]hey stood in the hall, which had a lot of doors and a staircase on the right-hand side. A large marmalade cat sat on the hall table beside a bowl of cyclamen."

Martin Amis, her step-son, in her obituary referred to, "the kind of writing she did," in a dismissive tone. Not only is that ungracious, it reveals a haughtiness which does not bear scrutiny. They both wrote stories which believe in narrative, in individual integrity, in the power of humans to discern their lives. Those are cardinal assumptions underlying fiction, rarely challenged, and possibly the only meaningful distinctions a critic can legitimately make.

This example from Amis (London Fields, 2010) is what I mean:

"...Nicola stood...wearing a dress the color of a Siamese cat, three of its nine buttons. its nine lives, already unfastened...."

One suspects Howard understood the significance of her writing better than Amis his own.
Entertainment, distraction is the game. The relevant distinction between Howard and Amis is that Howard was not confused about her product.

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