THE CAT WHO'LL LIVE FOREVER: The Final Adventures of Norton, the Perfect Cat, and His Imperfect Human

Peter Gethers, Author . Broadway $22.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7679-0637-1

Fans of Gethers's two previous chronicles of life with his cat, Norton (The Cat Who Went to Paris and A Cat Abroad), will be delighted by this third installment. Here, Gethers (who was feline-unfriendly until he received Norton as a present) recounts Norton's physical deterioration (kidney failure, cancer) and eventual death in 1999 at age 16. Having avoided filling the book with homilies about the nature of life and death, Gethers wryly notes that he's produced something "closer to Tuesdays with Norton than... to Meowing and Nothingness." Devoting more attention to Norton's astonishing international fame than to the cat's "final adventures," he relates Norton's (and, not incidentally, Gethers's) many brushes with greatness: Anthony Hopkins, Roman Polanski and Wolfgang Puck are among his famous fans. Gethers is at his best describing his own mixed feelings about Norton's success; fans at book signings, for instance, regularly talk to the cat and not to him. Readers will also enjoy Gethers's candid assessment of their lives together, such as his admission that he was "too selfish to get a second cat for [Norton] to socialize with," and that he slaved daily over healthful home-cooked meals for Norton but often got take-out for himself. (On-sale Sept. 9)

Forecast:Norton was the first cat to get a New York Times obit, and People magazine included him in a "Notable Deaths" feature—along with Stanley Kubrick, Joe DiMaggio and King Hussein. An author tour and inevitable media attention will give this book the proverbial nine lives.

Reviewed on: 07/16/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Hardcover - 978-0-7679-0909-9
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-7679-0903-7
Hardcover - 343 pages - 978-0-7862-3872-9
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