Everything changes the moment one takes pity on a human being or a mouse cowering in a corner. All of a sudden, a different world appears before our eyes, both more terrifying and more beautiful. That’s what makes Hrabal’s stories and novels genuinely moving. And so was his end. He died in 1997 at the age of eighty-two, falling out of a hospital window in Prague while apparently reaching to feed some pigeons.
—Charles Simic, The New York Review of Books

Available November 26, 2019

All My Cats

Nonfiction by Bohumil Hrabal

Translated by Paul Wilson

In the autumn of 1965, flush with the unexpected success of his first published books, the Czech author Bohumil Hrabal bought a cottage in Kersko, about an hour’s drive east of Prague. From then until his death in 1997, he divided his time between Prague and Kersko, where he wrote and tended to a community of feral cats. Over the years, his relationship to cats grew deeper and more complex, becoming a measure of the pressures, both private and public, that impinged on his life as a writer.

Despite the tender love he feels for the cats, especially his favorites who share his bed, there are moments of intense violence—as he controls the feline population explosion explosively.

All My Cats, written in 1983 after a serious car accident, is best seen as a confessional memoir, the chronicle of an author who becomes overwhelmed by his cats and his life, and is driven to the brink of madness by the dilemmas his indulgent love for the animals have created. In the end, All My Cats becomes a book about Hrabal’s relationship to nature, about the unlikely sources of redemption that come to him unbidden, like a gift from the cosmos—and about love.

Editions: ClothboundEbook

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Clothbound (published November 26, 2019)

ISBN
978-0-8112-2895-4
Price US
17.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
128

Ebook

ISBN
9780811228961

Bohumil Hrabal

Czech novelist and poet

Everything changes the moment one takes pity on a human being or a mouse cowering in a corner. All of a sudden, a different world appears before our eyes, both more terrifying and more beautiful. That’s what makes Hrabal’s stories and novels genuinely moving. And so was his end. He died in 1997 at the age of eighty-two, falling out of a hospital window in Prague while apparently reaching to feed some pigeons.
—Charles Simic, The New York Review of Books
All My Cats is a stunningly revealing, occasionally deranged exploration of self, with cat ownership the frame through which that exploration is presented, by one of postwar Europe’s greatest writers.
Michigan Quarterly Review
Hrabal is a spider of a writer: subtle and sly, patient, with invisible designs. He never proclaims — he never needs to. He envelops.
—Parul Sehgal, New York Times Book Review
This alternately sweet and gruesome memoir challenges readers to think about their own actions and their own vulnerability. Cats serve as a metaphor for the many forms of guilt each person carries and the challenges of rationalizing problematic behavior. Indeed, what is one to do with all those cats?
Kirkus Reviews
Hrabal, to my mind, is one of the greatest European prose writers.
—Philip Roth
The essence of Hrabal’s fiction is to draw beauty from what isn’t, to find hope where we’re not likely to look … to show that we are all of us ‘magnificent.’
—Meghan Forbes, The Los Angeles Review of Books