I hope everyone's having a fantastic Christmas. I've spent the day doing traditional things like eating my body weight in cheese and online shopping. My present 'haul' doesn't usually involve books as I already have so many I haven't read, but I did get Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex - excited about reading that in the new year - and I bought my mum Tom Cox's The Good, the Bad and the Furry which I'll no doubt be borrowing at some point. Cats and humour = a winning combination. And that ties in nicely with the rest of this post, since if you're bothering to read my blog on Christmas Day, I wanted to reward you (sort of) with a quick review of a late entrant to the best-books-of-2013 list. I'm not quite sure whether it really counts as a 2013 book as it isn't released until next year... But Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss is fantastically funny and entertaining and I want everyone, especially the cat lovers among you, to get it on their wishlists for 2014.
Cat Out of Hell (27 February 2014) by Lynne Truss
In Cat Out of Hell, Lynne Truss - better known for her best-selling grammar guide Eats Shoots and Leaves - has fashioned a surprisingly brilliant and original tale involving cats with supernatural powers and some seriously hapless humans. Alec, an academic who is recovering from the death of his wife, is staying in a quiet cottage by the sea when he starts to make his way through a package of papers and recordings given to him by a colleague. These concern the experiences of an individual known as Wiggy, who claims to have encountered not only a talking cat, but an evil, murderous, devil-worshipping talking cat who is part of a feline conspiracy spanning centuries. The story that then unfolds, told from a number of viewpoints and through various channels (including a hilariously terrible screenplay and imagined email exchanges), is exciting and compelling, but what surprised me the most was how hysterically funny the whole book is. This being part of the Hammer horror series of novellas, I was expecting something entertaining with a ghostly/magical bent, but I didn't expect it to make me laugh out loud so much I had to put it away for fear of appearing slightly insane in public. If you like cats, horror-lite and laughing, you will absolutely love this.
I received an advance review copy of Cat Out of Hell from the publisher through NetGalley.
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I just came across The Guardian's Christmas ghost stories, so I'll be having a read of those tonight (one of them is by Ned Beauman!) before I watch the new Mark Gatiss adaptation of M.R. James' The Tractate Middoth.
Finally, if you're looking for a treat for yourself, I just noticed that the ebook of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is only £1.99 at the moment. Happy holidays!