All My Cats

(Author) (Translator)
Product Details
$17.95  $16.69
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.1 X 0.7 inches | 0.53 pounds
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About the Author
Bohumil Hrabal (1914-1997) was born in Moravia. He is the author of such classics as Closely Watched Trains (made into an Academy-Award winning film by Jiri Menzel), The Death of Mr. Baltisberger, I Served the King of England, and Too Loud a Solitude.
Paul Wilson is a renowned Canadian-born translator of Czech and former member of The Plastic People of the Universe.
This alternately sweet and gruesome memoir challenges readers to think about their own actions and their own vulnerability. Cats serve as a metaphor for the many forms of guilt each person carries and the challenges of rationalizing problematic behavior. Indeed, what is one to do with all those cats?-- (09/11/2019)
Hrabal is a spider of a writer: subtle and sly, patient, with invisible designs. He never proclaims --he never needs to. He envelops.--Parul Sehgal
Everything changes the moment one takes pity on a human being or a mouse cowering in a corner. All of a sudden, a different world appears before our eyes, both more terrifying and more beautiful. That's what makes Hrabal's stories and novels genuinely moving. And so was his end. He died in 1997 at the age of eighty-two, falling out of a hospital window in Prague while apparently reaching to feed some pigeons.--Charles Simic
Hrabal, to my mind, is one of the greatest European prose writers.--Philip Roth (09/11/2019)
The essence of Hrabal's fiction is to draw beauty from what isn't, to find hope where we're not likely to look--to show that we are all of us 'magnificent.'--Meghan Forbes (09/11/2019)
Though tinged with sadness, it is a sweet, and often funny story. The writing is wonderfully vivid, particularly in the descriptions of animals and nature, and the artful translation elegantly captures the lightness of Hrabal's prose. Ultimately, this is a book about what happens when life becomes unsustainable--when pressures and frustrations build, and we cannot find happiness, despite flickering moments of content. But it is also about cats, and what it is like to love them.
This slender volume from novelist Hrabal (1914-1997), originally published in 1983, is an affecting meditation on the joys and occasional griefs of sharing his life with a large group of cats. While working in Prague during the week, Hrabal constantly worries about the animals that inhabit--and which he's allowed to completely overrun--his country cottage, and only upon returning there for the weekend can he feel relieved. Should anything happen to him or his wife, he frets, "Who would feed the cats?" So when a new litter brings the cottage's feline population over capacity, and Hrabal rashly decides to kill several kittens, readers will be shocked. That he can keep them on his side afterward--by persuasively showing himself as appalled at what he's done--is a testament to his storytelling skills.
Czechoslovakia's greatest writer.--Milan Kundera
In the end, Hrabal's cats keep him alive...and Hrabal knows better than anyone that our animality is what makes us human.--Becca Rothfeld
There are moments of exquisite tenderness and others of deep dread, and Hrabal leaps from one to the other withm--yes--feline agility.--Natalia Holtzman "Among the Felines: On Bohumil Hrabal's "All My Cats" "
Searingly frank and strangely moving, "All My Cats" is a welcome addition to a singular body of work.--Malcolm Forbes "Review: 'All My Cats, ' by Bohumil Hrabal, translated from the Czech by Paul Wilson "
"Hrabal's memoir succeeds--with frightening lucidity--in its capacity to narrow the gap that separates his experiences from our own."--Zach Davidson "Bohumil Hrabal's All My Cats "
All My Cats is a stunningly revealing, occasionally deranged exploration of self, with cat ownership the frame through which that exploration is presented, by one of postwar Europe's greatest writers.--Kevin O'Rourke"Gravity and Waggery: A Review of Bohumil Hrabal's 'All My Cats'" (10/14/2019)
All My Cats is both a simple tale about a man and his many pets, and a powerful metaphor. It's a book that forces us to reckon with the idea that to be human and to be alive is also to be guilty and to suffer for it. This is a book about what one does when existence becomes untenable, and how guilt--as it gnaws relentlessly through us--must be carried for a lifetime.-- (02/12/2020)