By Elizabeth C.
“RETREATING INTO HOSTILE SOLITUDE” CEMENTED J.D. Salinger’s mystique,” author Lionel Shriver claimed about the famed writer of the American classic, Catcher In The Rye.
“The hermit option,” he opined, “is the ultimate publicity ploy.”
Replace “hermit” with “angsty” and you arrive at the succinct ruse of Henri Le Chat, the Nietzschean feline famously frustrated by the search for meaning.
“I neither control my tail nor fully understand its machinations,” he laments. “Do not assume that a playful tail indicates a playful cat.”
“Is there a space between being and nothingness?,” he wonders. “Somewhere we drift without relative position or direction? Or is that the catnip talking?“
Despite — or perhaps because of — his literary expressions of ennui, Henri has become an international superstar, famous for his award-winning brooding black and white films (“The best internet cat video ever made,” purred Roger Ebert). And now — a new book.
Henri le Chat Noir, The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat, (Ten Speed Press) captures the tuxedo kitty over 96 pages at his brooding best: observing through judgmental eyes, spitting out slights like sour dimestore bon mots.
“My wavering belief in nihilism is affirmed each time the sunbeam moves just when I haved drifted off to sleep,” he complains.
And still more bemoaning: “I have the constant, inescapable burden of seeing the world as it truly is: meaningless and arbitrary. Why should I care if there are leaves stuck in my fur?
Just like the disenchanted Salinger, it’s a wonder he endures the burdens of publishing at all. You might want to grab his first published book, because it’s destined to become a feline classic.