Honey, I Killed the Cats


Product Details

$15.95  $14.83
Deep Vellum Publishing
Publish Date
4.9 X 0.5 X 7.9 inches | 0.45 pounds
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About the Author

Dorota Maslowska is a Polish writer, playwright, and journalist. She is the recipient of the prestigious Polityka Prize for her debut novel Wojna polsko-ruska pod flagą bialo-czerwoną (Snow White and Russian Red, Grove Atlantic), published when she was just 19 years old. The book garnered massive critical acclaim in Poland, has been translated into dozens of languages, and was made into a movie directed by Xawery Żulawski. Since then, she has written several novels and plays and has become a celebrated literary figure in Poland. Honey, I Killed the Cats, her second novel to be published in English, has been adapted for stage and portions were made into a short film directed by Marcin Nowak. She currently resides Warsaw. Benjamin Paloff received his Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University in 2007. He is the author of Lost in the Shadow of the Word (Space, Time and Freedom in Interwar Eastern Europe) (Northwestern University Press, 2016), which in 2015 received the American Comparative Literature Association's Helen Tartar First Book Subvention Prize. He has also published two collections of poems, And His Orchestra (2015) and The Politics (2011), both from Carnegie Mellon University Press. A former poetry editor at Boston Review, his poems have appeared in A Public Space, The Paris Review, The New Republic, and elsewhere, and he has translated several books from Polish and Czech, including works by Richard Weiner, Dorota Maslowska, Marek Bienczyk, and Andrzej Sosnowski. He has twice received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts--in poetry as well as translation--and has been a fellow of the US Fulbright Programs, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Michigan Society of Fellows. He is currently a professor at the University of Michigan.


"By revealing an extraordinary sense of observation the young author provides the reader with a cynical vision of the world in which we live in... Witty and humorous narration uncovers the sad truth about contemporary life: filled with paradoxes, hypocrisy and loneliness." -- Agnes-Books 'Maslowska plays the political posturing and xenophobia as black comedy. . . . The language, in Benjamin Paloff's translation, is exhilarating-idiosyncratic like a folk idiom, like a burnout's private conversation with himself. . . . Feminist in the most inclusive sense, nihilistic in the most life-affirming, this generation "we" yearns for a pink, laughing God, scrawls 'satan" where the grown-ups can see, and dodges the world's border wars by going underground. . . . Potent." -- Ryan Brooks, Chicago Reader "So corrosive, so extreme in its nightmarish subjectivity, as to be almost reader-proof-it feels like something William S. Burroughs might have written after getting up on the wrong side of the bed. . . . The 21-year-old author has already patented her own blend of brutality and poetic insight. And although comedy is most often what gets lost in translation, Benjamin Paloff seems to have done right by Maslowska: the book is often very funny." -- James Marcus, Los Angeles Times "European critics have compared [Snow White and Russian Red] to novels like Naked Lunch and movies like Trainspotting. Celine and Kosinski also come to mind, as does Gombrowicz's Ferdydurke, which is equally a particle accelerator and a violent dance, plus, of course . . . Stanislaw Lem and Czeslaw Milosz. . . . But I'd say the closest American equivalent is, at its best, Ginsberg's "Howl," and at its worst, Less than Zero." -- John Leonard, Harper's "Energetic, ferocious, and powerful, a hellacious literary accomplishment. Even having read it, it's hard to believe how well it all works. . . Satisfying as a psychological novel of obsessions, as a millennial cultural commentary, as a rough-and-ready street tale, and as a terrifyingly ambitious concept piece, a book that puts everything on the line to prove a point, and proves it, and takes it further still. . . . Snow White is a scorching read. This is big-league literature. . . . He has the wild, witty fatalism of Venedikt Yerofeev's Moscow to the End of the Line and the loopy idiolect of Alfred Jarry's Ubu Roi, but Nails is most of all a sparkling scion of grandmaster Witold Gombrowicz's Trans-Atlantyk." -- Damien Weaver, Bookslut "Serves up its nastiness spiked with pitch-black humor. . . . Paloff's translation is pitch-perfectly speedy, and with political ironies resounding throughout, it's clear that Maslowska is not exactly endorsing her blank generation, though the claustrophobic narrative presents few avenues of escape." -- Publishers Weekly, on Snow White and Russian Red "Maslowska's prose squeals with directionless drive, whizzing like a drug-induced sensory overload: disjointed, formless, unleashed. . . . It tires and invigorates. It also introduces an otherworld of lasting, unusual imagery. . . . Snow White and Russian Red scans like Kerouac's Dharma Bums, an anarchic reaction to a generation of socially enforced post-war patriotism and merriness. . . . Maslowska seems the newest addition to a legacy of furtively unfettered Eastern European genius. . . . She's brave and faithful enough to raise her voice against her troubled homeland in dissent." -- Kris Wilton, Village Voice "[Snow White and Russian Red] was published in 2002 by a small, independent publishing house and deservedly made its author, nineteen-year-old Dorota Maslowska, a huge success, despite the badly depressed book market in Poland. Just like Irish writers like Flann O' Brian and Brendan Behan wrote in a colorful Dublin vernacular rarely actually met in Dublin, so too has Maslowska created a literary language which is both uniquely hers and immediately familiar." -- Robert Looby, Slavic and East European Journal "Angry, expletive-packed, wildly energetic . . . It's a grim-gruff gumbo of Lukas Moodyson's Lilya-4-Ever, Brett Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero, and the films of Gaspar Noe. . . .The talented Maslowska keeps a soaring pace and, with abundant trademark mordant Polish humour, has crafter a novel that speaks of the "other" contemporary Warsaw as Hubert Selby Jr.'s Last Exit to Brooklyn spoke of NY in the '50s. Brilliant!" -- UNCUT (UK) "A cocky, confident, struttingly precocious new voice. White and Red is a Less Than Zero with intelligence, emotion and wit. Whatever they're putting in the water in Poland, I wish they'd pipe some of it over here. Fast." -- Niall Griffiths, author of Stump "No established writer could have written this book because established writers lack what this writer has-her language . . . fast, heavily abbreviated, full of color, bursting with idiosyncrasy. . . . Similarities are immediately apparent to the films Being John Malkovich and Trainspotting, but also to Kafka, Gombrowicz, and Gaddis." -- Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Germany) "Maslowska, with extraordinary literary sensitivity, catches the language of society's underbelly. . . . [Snow White and Russian Red] is a book that is simultaneously realistic and hyperrealistic. Prose that tastes like the poetry of a dirty street and filthy projects." -- Wojciech Staszewski, Gazeta Wyborna (Poland) "A melange of Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, Burroughs's Naked Lunch and Döblin's Alexanderplatz." -- Buchreport (Germany) "Dorota Maslowska's novel is the crater left by a gunshot, flexing feral words and rupturing its subject. . . . Confronted with so much power and intensity one cannot but surrender." -- Lifestyle (Germany) "An astute observation of the superficiality of a society driven by marketing and commerce." -- Janus R. Kowalczyk, Culture.pl
"Maslowska here describes a terrifying funhouse abounding with toxic friendships, ominous takes on consumerism, and grotesque moments of violence and general discomfort...The tone is broadly satirical throughout, but it's the variety with fangs -- sometimes literally." -- Tobias Carroll, Mystery Tribune "Dorota Maslowska is a mistress of the startling metaphor and her heroine is certainly not the stuff of chick lit. She appears in dreams (her own and those of her friends and neighbours) pyjama bottoms dripping with blood - yes honey, she has killed the cats. And she hardly need a hero to come and save her from drowning, does she? If this gloriously strange book sounds like your sort of thing, give Benjamin Paloff's translation a go..." -- Kate Sotejeff-Wilson "Dorota Maslowska's Honey, I Killed the Cats doesn't read like a novel, but rather a sequence of tabs on an internet browser, each one a minor digression into a deeper chaos. Written in 2012 by one of Poland's leading young authors, Benjamin Paloff's lively translation is distinctly 2019, as if constructed solely from a digital-era dictionary." -- Matt Janney, The Calvert Journal "Paloff is able to preserve Maslowska's energy and surprising wordplay in this translation, and the prose brings life to the setting in a way that energizes the story..."-- Ambrose Mary Gallagher, Michigan Quarterly Review "Maslowska's latest is a sucrose-loaded simulacrum for the American monoculture, recklessly scrambling barbed sarcasm with irreverent sight gags to stupendous effect. A knives-out dissection of aesthetic vulgarity that refuses to be calmed, corralled, or otherwise contained. Honey, I Killed the Cats is delightfully demented fun." -- Justin Walls, Powell's Books at Cedar Hill Crossing "A wild, technicolor send up of culture and consumerism." -- Caitlin Luce Baker, Island Books "A grossly all-too-accurate satire of American consumer culture and those frantically swiping their plastic (in hopes of some kind of meaning) inside of it. Hilarious and biting. A scream." -- Traci Thiebaud, Brazos Bookstore "Slim and ferocious, Maslowska's novel is a wild trip from beginning to end." -- Publisher's Weekly "So absurdly extended--and so deranged in its detail--that it's genuinely funny." -- Kirkus Reviews "She is the hope of Polish literature." -- Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung "Paloff deserves to be commended. His translation is as transparent as possible, literal without being wooden, lively yet not artificially so. Maslowska's linguistic vigor communicates itself to English-language readers so readily that we are caught up in the quick current of her prose before we even know what the book is about." -- Reading in Translation, Magdalena Kay