Another Insane Devotion: On the Love of Cats and Persons

3.48 avg rating
( 263 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780738215266: Another Insane Devotion: On the Love of Cats and Persons

From “a genuine American Dostoevsky” (The Washington Post): a dazzling, funny, bittersweet exploration of the mysteries of relationship, both human and animal.

When his favorite cat Biscuit goes missing, Peter Trachtenberg sets out to find her. The journey takes him 700 miles and many years into his past-- into the history of his relationships with cats and the history of his relationship with his wife F., who may herself be on the verge of disappearing. What ensues is a work that recalls travel narratives from The Incredible Journey to W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn. Trachtenberg ponders the mysteries of feline intelligence (why do cats score worse on some tests than pigeons?), the origins of their domestication, their terrible treatment during the Middle Ages. He also looks at the riddle of why any of us loves whom we love and all the unforeseen places to which that devotion leads us.

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About the Author:

Peter Trachtenberg is the author of the memoir "7 Tattoos" and "The Book of Calamaties: Five Questions About Suffering and Its Meaning." His essays, journalism, and short fiction have been published in "The New Yorker, Harper's, BOMB, TriQuarterly, O, The New York Times Travel Magazine, " and "A Public Space." His commentaries have been broadcast on NPR'S "All Things Considered." The recipient of a Whiting Writers Fellowship and a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Trachtenburg was also honored for "The Book of Calamities," which was the recipient of the 2009 Phi Beta Kappa Ralph Waldo Emerson Award "for scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity."www.petertrachtenberg.com

Review:

Chicago Tribune, 12/1/2012"'Another Insane Devotion' is more than a literary memoir. . . .His crisscrossing passions are too busy and engaging to succumb to the genre's tendency to drearily impart life lessons. 'The nature of love' is an excuse for him to riff across centuries, from cat burial in ancient Cyprus to the lyrics of Sappho to marriage in the Torah to John Ruskin's unhappy wedding night to the novels of James Salter. This is surely the best book written about what it means to love cats, and to wonder if they love you, since Carl Van Vechten's 'The Tiger in the House.'"

"I'll bet you a giant toy mouse that you will adore this book outright for its scrutiny of the domestic cat in all its cuddlesome glory. . . You may still adore this book for everything else it offers: a suspense story, a love story, a falling-out-of-love story, sex and yearning, literary gossip, economic hardship, conspicuous references to the Western canon, meditations on Being, picturesque Italian getaways, medieval torturers, death.  .  .  . Not many things are better than a kitten, but a book like this comes close." -- Jennifer McDonald, The New York Times Book Review

Another Insane Devotion about love, sex, marriage and especially cats is a hallmark of brainy discursiveness.”

Booklist, 11/15/12 [A] meditation on the meaning(s) of love Trachtenberg's lyric writing keeps the reader interested making for a memoir that reads like a compelling work of fiction.”
Chronogram, November 2012 Spiked with intellectual digressions and unlikely graphics, Trachtenberg's eccentric meditation on loss and transition is not your everyday cat book [He] uses language as a flensing tool, peeling back layers to glimpse deeper truths.”

Chicago Tribune, 12/2/12 This is surely the best book written about what it means to love cats, and to wonder if they love you, since Carl Van Vechten's The Tiger in the House."
Hudson Valley News, 11/14/12 The season's most eccentric book You'll have many smiles and a few tears while reading The story of the fierce and tender bonds of love between people and between people and cats The book, in all its richness and humor, tells us about loving a cat, loving a human being and where those loves can take us.”
InfoDad.com, 11/29/12

Eileen Myles, author of Cool for You and Inferno
This is Peter's best book and if you don't know what that means just imagine your sweetest, most perverse storytelling friend asks to meet because he has a confession to make. When you arrive he informs you that he loves his cat more than life itself, or exactly that much and then he opens his shirt and shows you the cat tattoo and then he begins to tell you of his love and in a puff hours vanish and it's absolutely riveting.” 
Nick Flynn, author of  Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
I am not a cat person I approach each one on a cat-by-cat basis yet Peter Trachtenberg is such a wonderful writer, and this book is so damn good, that I found myself carried along by its lucidity, its generosity, its deep wisdom. In the end, of course, Another Insane Devotion is about much more than cats.”

Publishers Weekly, 9/10/12 Through short sections of intelligent, often humorous prose, former and potential girlfriends and past pets are conjured in hopes of understanding how people can fall in and out of love Trachtenberg's journey proves entertaining and enlightening.”

T: The New York Times Style Magazine, 10/7/12

  Sensitive writing, its focus on love and loss and the way the two sometimes merge, will intrigue people trying to come to terms with their own relationships (human and animal) and interested in a journey that proves as enlightening as it is entertaining.”
Bookviews blog, December 2012 Trachtenberg is a talented writer who tackles subjects in ways that often make readers say That's me' or That's my friend.'”
FionaMaazel.com, item about book: [The] most engaging, sprightly, smart, and moving thing I've read in ages.”

VIVmag, 12/13/12
What makes [Trachtenberg's] story truly compelling and haunting are the images he paints, the poignant moments with both feline and female that make up this dual love story.”
New York Times Book Review, 12/30/12 I'll bet you a giant toy mouse that you will adore this book But then, this is not just a pet memoir [It's] about the torments of grief and separation as much as it is about the nature of desire and devotion Trachtenberg is an impish and intelligent essayist, his writing sinuous and sensual Trachtenberg is an extraordinarily perceptive observer of ca
Los Angeles Review of Books, 4/9/13
Another Insane Devotion is, at its core, a meditation on why we love Trachtenberg deftly maneuvers between the personal, the historical, and the philosophical His intelligence and wit as a writer carry the book At the heart of the text is a complex and emotional mind working out some of the deeper questions of love, attachment, and loneliness.”

New York Times, 4/28/13
Trachtenberg tried to figure out what motivated the various women and cats in his life and failed entertainingly at both endeavors.”

Brevity, 5/14/13
[Trachtenberg] uses his curiosity, as exacting as his prose, like a microscope to map the development and boundaries of love and marriage.”

WomanAroundTown.com, 7/10/13
Even as Peter [Trachtenberg] searches for his beloved feline, he embarks on his own inner journey of discovery about himself, the meaning of loyalty, and what's at the heart of loving and being loved.”

Internet Review of Books, 7/17/13
A thoughtful and quirky book If you love cats you'll probably enjoy it.”

Bookforum.com, 8/14/13
A far-flung and highly erudite meditation on the nature of love.”

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