The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat

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9780679460473: The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat
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2 cassettes / 3 hours
Read by David Hyde Pierce

"I came into the world like everything else that is born, willy-nilly."  

So the wise old housecat Foudini begins the delightful story of his life. It is the tale of his orphaned kittenhood; of how he was rescued, cowering and spitting and hissing, from a damp city basement and lured into the lives of the couple he came to call Warm and Pest ("All cats like to make up strange names for things" ).

It is the story of how Warm and Pest became "his  people" ("Human beings must be excellent mousers; they have such patience");  of how he learned to tolerate and then to love "his"  dog, Sam; and of his adventures at Cold House in the city and Mouse House in the country (he prefers Mouse House, for obvious reasons). With feline equanimity, he tells how he was saved from a racing, swollen river; of how he lost the most unlikely and dearest friend he had; and of how he gained a cat family of his own. And he regales us with news of the ghost cats who visit him in his dreams--the cats of Cleopatra and Freud among them--bringing him their ancient cat wisdom, which Foudini tries, none too successfully at first, to impart to Grace, the sleek and beautiful gray country cat new to the household. As Foudini sees it, Grace is desperately in need of his guidance, but being young and willful, she has other things on her mind . . .

Yet even Grace comes to understand that Foudini M. Cat is well worth listening to. Warm and witty--and possessed of a surprisingly sophisticated narrative manner--Foudini is a cat with truly irrepressible, and irresistible, feline flair.

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Review:

"In the beginning," Foudini M. Cat explains, "I was not a housecat. I was born in a wall." This wise old cat tells his life story for the edification of Grace, a young cat new to the fold. His story includes an explanation of the behavior of his Assigned Persons, whom he calls "Warm" and "Pest"; the tolerance that evolves into love for "his" dog Sam; and charming memories of his orphaned kittenhood. Treated to fine feline philosophy, we learn that Foudini considers cats' reputations for aloofness and vanity completely undeserved: "what we ought to be celebrated for is our ability to exist alone and to dream." In his dreams Foudini visits cats of the rich and famous--Cleopatra and Sigmund Freud--and applies (with sometimes comic, sometime positive results) their advice. All this he tries to impart with generosity and warmth to Grace, who is, alas, "demented with youth." Though easily distracted, far more interested in catnip or naps in pooled sunlight, Grace does manage from time to time to talk back or pay attention.

Susan Fromberg Schaeffer, author of 10 previous novels and a National Book Award nominee, has created an endearing narrative voice--refreshingly unsentimental and completely charming.

From the Back Cover:

Grace the Cat is not at all like me, as she is forever bent on mischief. But because I am an older and wiser cat, she looks to me for counsel, and so I have allowed Grace to prevail upon me to set down the story of my life as a housecat in the human world. . . .

As the irrepressible Foudini M. Cat regales us with his adventures, an exciting story unfolds. After his valiant but frail mother leaves him in search for food and never returns, the starving kitten is taken, hissing and spitting, to a frightening room with cages and men in white coats. Facing the specter of eternal sleep, the homeless cat is adopted by a woman he later calls "Warm". ("All cats like to make up strange names for things".)

From here Foudini enchants us with splendid tales of his unlikely but ultimately poignant friendship with Sam the Dog; their trips between Cold House in the city and Mouse House in the country; his mystical experiences with famous felines of the past; his near-death in a raging river that leads to a profound act of sacrifice; and his introduction to a silly young thing named Grace, which evolves into something completely unexpected.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780449911457: The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat: A Novel

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0449911454 ISBN 13:  9780449911457
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 1998
Softcover

9780679454748: The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat

Knopf, 1997
Hardcover

9780517370285: The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat

Random..., 1999
Hardcover

9780449004777: Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat

Fawcet...
Softcover

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