Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Cats and houses
I'm a sucker for a good animal story, and Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World certainly gives that. I found it sometimes got too bogged down with the town's history and with Vicki Myron's own story. It feels rather heartless to say I didn't care as much about her trials and tribulations, but I wanted more of the cat! (I'm very curious about the authorship, though. It's credited to "Vicki Myron with Bret Witter" -- what does that mean, exactly?) I loved Dewey's story and his antics and talents, and my goodness, was he ever an adorable cat. Not cute enough to trump my Atticus, of course: (Click here for a larger version.)
I love a good English manor house story. Usually these are mysteries, in the style of Agatha Christie, and some modern movies have stepped into the genre (can it be called a genre?), like Gosford Park. The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton, tells the story from the servant side while also letting us glimpse the lives of the privileged, and she manages to render both sides sympathetic. Morton's plot is beautifully crafted; she plants details perfectly, so that the events are both surprising and inevitable. I liked the flashback technique -- it was never overdone and worked well to explain how Grace knew so much about her employers' lives. I don't think it gives anything away to say I found the ending tremendously appropriate and yet still heartwrenching.