The Rabbi's Cat

The Rabbi's Cat

Book - 2005
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The preeminent work by one of France's most celebrated young comic artists, The Rabbi's Cat tells the wholly unique story of a rabbi, his daughter, and their talking cat -- a philosopher brimming with scathing humor and surprising tenderness.

In Algeria in the 1930s, a cat belonging to a widowed rabbi and his beautiful daughter, Zlabya, eats the family parrot and gains the ability to speak. To his master's consternation, the cat immediately begins to tell lies (the first being that he didn't eat the parrot). The rabbi vows to educate him in the ways of the Torah, while the cat insists on studying the kabbalah and having a Bar Mitzvah. They consult the rabbi's rabbi, who maintains that a cat can't be Jewish -- but the cat, as always, knows better.

Zlabya falls in love with a dashing young rabbi from Paris, and soon master and cat, having overcome their shared self-pity and jealousy, are accompanying the newlyweds to France to meet Zlabya's cosmopolitan in-laws. Full of drama and adventure, their trip invites countless opportunities for the rabbi and his cat to grapple with all the important -- and trivial -- details of life.

Rich with the colors, textures, and flavors of Algeria's Jewish community, The Rabbi's Cat brings a lost world vibrantly to life -- a time and place where Jews and Arabs coexisted -- and peoples it with endearing and thoroughly human characters, and one truly unforgettable cat.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2005
Edition: 1st American ed. --
ISBN: 9780375422812
Branch Call Number: GN FIC Sfar 3558ad 1
Characteristics: 142 p. :,col. ill


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Feb 06, 2018

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.

Aug 09, 2015

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.

Dec 25, 2014

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.

Jun 27, 2014

Interesting and fund, but the animated movie is even better and more unpredictable.

Jan 30, 2012

Although comic and well illustrated, the overall message seemed as hopeless and narrow minded as the religious ideals that tries to undermine.

May 19, 2010

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.

May 20, 2008

Fabulous graphic novel! Sfar has obviously channelled his cat, and this makes for an authentic, original, and eccentric character.

Mar 14, 2008


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