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Dec 18, 2008
| ISBN 9780307488992
Dec 18, 2008 | ISBN 9780307488992
Haughty Bengals, faithful Maine coons, and feral strays: These are the haunting familiars that animate Nina De Gramont’s critically acclaimed debut collection of short fiction. Prowling through every story, these enigmatic creatures expose the hidden fears and passions of the female heart, and illuminate the profound truths of men and love. A young woman finds two dark surprises in her home: a magpie dismembered by her mischievous cat, and an unsettling glimpse of her fiancé’s secret inclinations…A pregnant housewife quietly suffers a visit from her troubled brother-in-law while her hidden anger comes to life in the suddenly hostile behavior of her docile house cat…A frustrated newlywed clings to the last vestige of her well-appointed upbringing–a pampered Himalayan high point–until a rangy stray cat shows her the true meaning of marriage…As clever, finessed, and keen as the feline disposition it celebrates, Of Cats and Men marks the arrival of an exciting new voice in fiction.
Nina de Gramont teaches fiction at the Harvard Extension School. She lives on Cape Cod, with her husband, David Gessner.
“These stories are superbly crafted, dark and funny, at times as enigmatic as the two beasts in the title. Of Cats and Men is a sensuous and wickedly honest book about women and men and the sly, aloof, casually beautiful animals who pad through their lives.”—Brad Watson, author of Last Days of the Dog-Men“The author weaves cats into each story so deftly that they function as both poetic figures and complex characters.”—Mademoiselle“An utterly pleasurable discovery. . .the sort one enjoys in the fiction of Carol Shields, Pam Houston, Melissa Bank.” —The Washington Post Book World“Acute perceptions and an intelligent voice are evident throughout De Gramont’s collection. You need not be a cat-lover to appreciate it.” —Newsday
Essay on Summer ReadingFor the past several years I’ve lived in a beach community, so summertime reading definitely takes place by the water. I love to reread favorites during the summer – books I can skip around in, and revisit like I would an old friend. Stephen McCauley’s The Object of My Affection is a novel I always return to with a great sense of homecoming. Also Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I do read short stories on the beach. I love something I can delve into and experience fully in one sitting. Allan Gurganis describes his pleasure in novellas and short stories as “something you can start after dinner and finish before bedtime.” Which also works for the beach: a short story is a world you can step into as soon as you first sit down in the sun, and step out of with a satisfied sigh by the time you’re ready for a swim. There are so many collections that I love. Anything by Alice Adams, Lorrie Moore, or Alice Munro. Katherine Mansfield is always dazzling. I love The Ice at the Bottom of the World by Mark Richard, Cowboys are my Weakness by Pam Houston, and The Brutal Language of Love by Alicia Erian. Also Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Hurry by Elizabeth McCracken, and Last Days of the Dogmen by Brad Watson.–Nina de Gramont
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