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The rabbi's cat
Sfar, Joann.
Adult Fiction SFAR

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Sfar, the French cartoonist behind the Little Vampire children's books, has come up with a hilarious and wildly original graphic novel for adults. The nameless, scraggly-looking alley cat who narrates the story belongs to an Algerian rabbi in the '30s. When the cat eats a parrot, he gains the power of speech and tries to convince his master to teach him the Torah, raising the question of whether the appropriate age for his bar mitzvah should be in human years or cat years. Of course, being a cat, he has plenty of impertinent opinions about Judaism. That's a delicious setup on its own, but it gets better when the cat loses his speech again halfway through, and the story becomes a broader, more bittersweet comedy about the rabbi's family and the intersection of Jewish, Arab and French culture. The rabbi's daughter Zlabya marries a young man from a nonobservant family in France. The Algerian family's visit with their Parisian in-laws is the subject of the final and funniest section of the book. Sfar's artwork looks as mangy and unkempt as the cat, with contorted figures and scribbly lines everywhere, but there's a poetic magic to it that perfectly captures this cat's-eye view of human culture and faith. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In this agreeable ramble of a tale, set in 1930s Algeria, a cat belonging to Zlabya, the daughter of a rabbi, eats a parrot and gains the power of speech. The cat, as might be expected of a cat, proves to be a grand skeptic with a smart mouth and engages in lacerating theological discussions with the rabbi and with the rabbi's master. In the second half, the focus moves away from the cat and features a visit by the rabbi's imposing cousin Malka and his pet lion; a threat to the rabbi's position; a suitor for Zlabya; and a trip to Paris. Sfar, cocreator of NBM's series Dungeon, won a prestigious French award for this book, and its likable characters and good humor are winning. Sfar's unruly full-color artwork, likewise endearing, alternates the cartoony, changeable style with occasional glimpses of more realistic rendering. His portrayal of a spectrum of Jews as they deal in their own ways with the rules and customs of their faith is thoughtful, witty, and deeply human. With nudity and mature themes, this is recommended for adult collections, for which it's strongly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/05.] (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

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