The Cat

Edeet Ravel, Author
Edeet Ravel. Pintail, $16 (240p) ISBN 978-0-14-318645-8
Paperback - 221 pages - 978-0-14-318352-5
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Ravel (The Last Rain) delivers a heartbreaking novel that centers on Elsie, a single-mother paralyzed by grief after her 11-year-old son dies. While her life once revolved around her son, after his death she finds herself struggling to survive on "this alien planet...[a] planet without my son." Ravel's measured prose spares us no detail of Elsie's despair and hopelessness, exposing the confusion, anger and disbelief that come with loss. It's her cat Pursie who forces her to carry on. Although she feels "shipwrecked" in her isolation, refusing to leave the house and rejecting all who reach out to her, Elsie rises each day only to care for the cat her son loved. Her loss forces her to confront the abandonment she's faced in the past—from her withholding mother, a former lover, and the father of her son. As her commitment to solitude begins to wane, Elsie finds the strength to reach out to others and deal with the unresolved relationship of her past. Ravel's frank depiction of grief is stunning in both its silent moments of desperation and the glimpses of hope offered for the future. (Apr.)
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