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Unread 09-29-2006   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Cat Inside

Best known for the wild, phantasmagoric satire of works like Naked Lunch, William S. Burroughs reveals another, gentler side in The Cat Inside. Originally published as a limited-edition volume, this moving and witty discourse on cats combines deadpan routines and dream passages with a heartwarming account of Burroughs's unexpected friendships with the many cats he has known. It is also a meditation on the long, mysterious relationship between cats and their human hosts, which Burroughs traces back to the Egyptian cult of the "animal other." With its street sense and whiplash prose, The Cat Inside is a genuine revelation for Burroughs fans and cat lovers alike.

"The Cat Inside is about how Burroughs's contact with cats put him in touch with himself. Cats have changed his dreams; they are psychic guides who have allowed his wounded inner child to come out." (Harper's Bazaar)

"Burroughs's book is about cats the way The Grapes of Wrath is about fruit. . . . These are haunting images, from dreams, memory and present day, ranging from unabashed affection to outrage and indignation." (Los Angeles Times)
Customer Review: Tiger, tiger burning bright...
I'll be honest with you- I only bought this book for two reasons. Burroughs was a now deceased ex-girlfriend of mine's favorite author, and the book was short. That makes my credibility fly out the window for some of you, I'm sure, regarding literature, but I'm too busy with different things to put many hours or days into reading a book and keeping it fresh in my memory. My Multiple Sclerosis doesn't help matters when it comes to remembering what happened in a book I read part of just a day before either. But being an avid cat-lover and reading nothing but 5 star reviews of The Cat Inside, I decided to give the book a shot. What did I have to lose? To be honest, I read the first few pages and was thrown off by the demi-journal entry-esque layout of the book. Some pages would be one small paragraph in the middle of the page, while others would be a sentence or two. That was about a year ago. Cut to just yesterday, when I read the book over the course of two of my three breaks at work, and I can't believe that I didn't give the book more of a chance sooner. The Cat Inside is easily one of the most brilliant pieces of work I've ever read. I understand every page of it, every point Burroughs tries to get accross...and a few parts aren't even really cat-related, but more of an observation on humans in general. After reading this book, I've become a Burroughs fan that easily, and can't wait to read his other books, regardless of what they're about. But if anything, you can trust all the 5 star reviews here- they're not over exaggerating. Trust me: I don't rave over many things easily. It's hard to summarize The Cat Inside properly, as it's not really a novel or short story on any one particular cat or anything. It's somewhat of an autobiography on Burroughs while focusing on some of the different cats he's known in his life. While this normally wouldn't sound that interesting, Burroughs manages to pull it off with great analogies, and a deeper look at the whole picture. The book starts out with Burroughs about to leave for work, when he notices that some of his cat's kittens are missing. He notices also, that his luggage is a bit heavier, and sees that there are four of them inside, as if the mother wanted him to look after them, taking on the role of the human guardian. And that's what we are really, when it comes to having pets, aren't we? Pets provide us with companionship, relieve us of stress, give us some unforgettable entertainment, and what do we do for them? We take care of them. We protect them. When the bond between a human and their pet is strong enough, they know that nothing can harm that animal, or friend I should say. That's how it is with myself and my oldest cat that I own, Toby. I won't get into detail about my life for a book review, but The Cat Inside, from the very beginning, made Toby and my bond grow even stronger. Each page had heartwarming, as well as heartbreaking stories that made me want to know that Toby was invincible, and no harm could ever come his way. But you have to face the truth, and Burroughs touches upon that numerous times here. From finding a new companion, to the loss of others, to doing otherwise "natural" things we go through such as giving away kittens once they're born. This portion of text: "When the kittens were ten weeks old I gave two of them away. And Ginger kept looking for them and crying from room to room, looking under the bed, under the couch. And I decided I couldn't go through this again". I wouldn't want to either, Bill. I knew I wouldn't be able to give much of a helpful review, given the length of the book, and that I don't want to ruin much of it for future readers. But let me tell you that The Cat Inside is one of the most honest works you'll ever read. Amazon actually postpones reviews if you use too many quotes, so I'm not able to give you more great examples of the work found here. That's unfortunate, as well as good for you all, as I'd probably just end up typing the entire book. Also, for those who haven't read any of Burroughs' work yet, The Cat Inside -is- a great introduction. I was worried that he'd be one of those many over-hyped writers, and I'd be disappointed, but that's not the case. I'll be sure to set time aside for future purchases.
Customer Review: I Cried All Night!
I just finished reading this book. Not only is it a very fast read (I read it in an hour), but it is also the most touching book I have read in a long while. Any cat lover will love this book. This is my first taste of Burroughs, and I must say it was a wonderful taste. I have been crying ever since he spoke of Ed and not being able to find him. I highly recomend this book for anyone!

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