Cat out of Hell by Lynne Truss – Book Review
Ages ago I had read Lynne Truss’s Eats, Shoots & Leaves – a zero tolerance approach to punctuation. And I still remember reading that. So just by looking at the author’s name, I picked up this book Cat out of Hell to read. I was sure it would be good entertainment for the time I spend reading the book. And yes, it was a hilarious, mysterious and Maverick read.
For the first time, I read a story that is written in the 21st CE language – totally coupled with the devices that have become an integral part of our lives. So pieces of the story come as narration from characters, some come as pictures on the hard disk and some as audio recording, others as part of a half written screen play, some as links to YouTube videos. And even a questionnaire with multiple choice answers. Communication between characters takes place through emails irrespective of whether they know each other or not. All writing happens on laptops. To me, this was an indication of the paradigm shift in story telling that takes into account how things are today. Rather than be stuck in the idyllic past.
The story is a mix of horror, symbolism, occult, mythology, science; cult practices. All centered around 2 cats that are living their proverbial 9th life. There are a few people who die. In the process of tracing the events that led to their deaths, talking cats are discovered throughout the story. Talking cats leads to an old cult of cat masters that used to be in charge of cats that survived nine lives and gave them supernatural powers. The cat masters are as expected evil. And ultimately responsible for all the evil that happened. There is a dog that plays the perfect companion. The story has a tragedy, suspense and comedy all wrapped in it. You never know what will be there in the next chapter. That keeps you glued to the book.
At one place, the punctuation mania of the author comes across as she notices the correct usage of words by the cat in a relatively tense situation in the story. And of course, the protagonist is a retired librarian. And the ultimate secret of the story is hidden somewhere in the precincts of the library like a treat for the bibliophiles like myself.
Cat out of Hell is a short book and a very quick read. Brilliant & innovative storytelling and a story that manages to balance so many diverse elements.