Monday, August 31, 2009

A Year of Cats and Dogs by Margaret Hawkins

This rather interesting novel delves into the life of Maryanne, who has recently found herself abandoned by her “ex,” Phillip, and now lives alone with a dog, Bob, and a cat Clement. Maryanne is, to say the very least, an interesting character. She is strong, confident, reflective, and able to take care of herself -- after a fashion. While she is not the best housekeeper in the world, she does manage reasonably well.

Hawkins’s prose flows nicely in and around the vicissitudes of Maryanne’s life. The relationship has died, and she faces “death” in a variety of forms, handling each with a calm grace and an attitude that recognizes the inevitability of loss.

Numerous events in Maryanne’s life also involve food, and she supplies recipes for many of life’s turning points. All the recipes seem to include bacon, well-done, and crumbled into the recipe. The I-Ching also figures in the plot, as the 64 chapters each reflects a sentiment expressed by one of the 64 I-Ching tiles. As the author’s note tells us, the I-Ching has been around for several thousand years and advocates reflection and passive acceptance. Maryanne’s calm demeanor follows this spiritual guide.

Of course, her relationship with pets will appeal to anyone who has ever had the good fortune to accept an invitation to reside with a cat and dog. Maryanne has a special relationship with her “family” members, as the title suggests. Don’t miss out on this wonderful experience.

Permanent Press will publish this novel in October, 2009. Five Stars

--Chiron, 8/30/09

No comments: