A cat belonging to a Rabbi and his daughter in Algiers, eats a parakeet and suddenly- he can talk!
This is a colorful tale about an old rabbi and his young daughter living in a Jewish community in Algeria around 1930. The characters (including the talking animals) are brilliant and the story evokes beautiful images from the past. Overall, the art is stylish and well done, but I absolutely hated the scratchy cursive lettering by the American translator.
It might look like a classic animated fable with a talking animal in an exotic location; but Rabbi's Cat has some bigger aspirations than a cute adventure. Jews, Muslims and a Russians cooperate and clash in the city and desert of North Africa. While at the center of the tale is a fast friendship between a mullah and a rabbi, the real lesson is how people who worship in the same religion can be separated by unbridgeable divides.
Fanatics, dogmatists, searchers and accommodators may share the same label but their values divide them. Human (or cat) nature sometimes make doctrine come off as silly, and a distant utopia can be just as problematic as our hometown. Of course it's also a really funny romp with a talking cat driving everybody crazy.
The Rabbi's Cat:
A marvelous book! I love the way that the drawings of the cat range from fairly realistic to strangely caricatured. Sfar has an incredible ability to capture cat body language. The rabbi and Zlabya are both wonderful characters. I appreciated seeing a bit of Algerian Jewish experience.
I'm not Jewish, but I know enough of Jewish culture to really like this book. And I know enough of cats. Sfar gets both right in a wonderful way. What keeps me from giving this 5 stars is the fact that I don't really like the artwork -- I can see that it's well done, but this style of angularity and distortion doesn't work for me. I'm much more of a Wrightson/Vess fan (I could give a long list of other graphic novelists, but if you don't know those two it won't help). In all other ways, this is a thoughtful and fascinating book.
Interesting and fund, but the animated movie is even better and more unpredictable.
Although comic and well illustrated, the overall message seemed as hopeless and narrow minded as the religious ideals that tries to undermine.
Excellent graphic novel about a cat who gains the ability to talk and the evolution of his relationship with his master and mistresses, as well as his religious education.
Fabulous graphic novel! Sfar has obviously channelled his cat, and this makes for an authentic, original, and eccentric character.
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