Reading Cats and Dogs

What’s it going to be, animal fans? Do you prefer the daft and drooling devotion of a Dachshund, or would you rather your lap be warmed by a dapper and discerning Tuxedo cat? It’s probably obvious that I’m Team Feline (do you blame me?), but we have a couple of dedicated dog enthusiasts on staff as well—luckily, our brand-spanking-new Melville House order arrived with something for everyone…

Cats and Dogs

Melville House is an independent Brooklyn publisher founded in 2001 by the husband and wife team of writer Dennis Loy Johnson and sculptor Valerie Merians. We proudly stock quite a few of their handsome titles, including the two recent releases below…

Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss

From the best-selling author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, we have the story of Alec Charlesworth, a grief-stricken librarian who encounters a talking cat called Roger. This novel is a page-turning mix of comedy and Gothic suspense; there are laugh-out-loud moments mixed in with some genuinely creepy bits (e.g. “Purring was the way they sent people into a trance, you see—and then, when their prey was sort of paralysed and helpless, the cats would set to work with their claws”). Best read with the lights on and the family cat occupied elsewhere.

The Dialogue of the Dogs by Miguel de Cervantes; translated by David Kipen

From chatty cats to conversational canines—Cervantes’ The Dialogue is apparently the first talking-dog story in Western literature. Much like Cat Out of Hell, this novella is a humorous mix of parody and fantasy. It features a syphilitic philanderer who, while recovering in hospital, eavesdrops on two talking guard dogs. The Dialogue first appeared in 1613 in a collection of twelve stories… and, four-hundred years later, I’d wager this is still the only tail tale in which a pair of garrulous Mastiffs discuss the evils of humanity in the form of a Greek dialogue.