The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, Author Alfred A. Knopf $18.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-679-45474-8
In what surely is a fictionalized version of the life of a beloved pet, Schaeffer spins an appealing story via the feline narrator of this short novel. Ostensibly recording his experiences for the benefit of a young cat brought into the household, Foudini tells of a perilous kittenhood after his mother died; adoption by a couple he calls Warm and Pest, who transport him between their city and country houses; his initial fear of their huge dog, Sam; and the gradual growth of respect and love between feline and canine. However, Foudini's fearful personality and his lectures on the dangers of life are more than a series of funny and touching anecdotes (the day the woodchuck got in the house, the time Foudini was almost pulverized in the washing machine, etc.). Schaeffer (The Golden Rope) persuasively interprets a cat's view of the world--and how it differs from a dog's and a human being's. She interjects feline fables into Foudini's dreams (one night Freud's stuffy cat appears to give advice). The story acquires poignancy when Sam becomes ill and doesn't return from the vet's hospital, and Foudini grieves for his gentle and protective friend. In the course of the narrative, Foudini's personality changes from nervous pessimism to a more trusting acceptance of love and domestic contentment. If at first rather cloying, the story gradually becomes affecting. Animal lovers will find it irresistible. 60,000 first printing; Random House audio. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
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