Felidae

Akif Pirincci, Author
Akif Pirincci, Author Villard Books $19 (292p) ISBN 978-0-679-42069-9
Reviewed on: 01/04/1993
Release date: 01/01/1993
Hardcover - 978-0-517-14422-0
Hardcover - 978-2-02-025698-8
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A clever, offbeat thriller in which the sleuth and most of the other main characters are cats, this first novel by Turkish-born Pirincci, who lives in Bonn, won Germany's prize for best crime novel of the year in 1990. As an allegory on Germany's Nazi past, it is facile and ambivalent. The detective/narrator, Francis, an irrepressibly curious house cat, deduces that whoever is murdering the neighborhood tabbys has a warped mind and is attempting to breed a ``super race'' of felines. After discovering a fanatical cult of self-flagellating felines who worship a martyred cat, Claudandus, Francis is aided by Pascal, a cat who uses a computer, in unearthing another clue--the journal of a half-mad professor who performed sadistic laboratory experiments on cats. The corpses of countless feline victims are thrown into a catacomb guarded by the Persian cat Jesaja, a pathetic dupe who prays both to Yahweh (god of the Hebrews) and to ``our blessed Prophet,'' the murderer, believing that he is doing the Lord's will. Is Pirincci satirizing monotheistic religion, or the alleged passivity of Jews who believed that Hitler would spare them? Such troubling questions are left unanswered. This fable is most effective as an acerbic commentary on humanity's follies, obtuseness and knack for evil. (Feb.)
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