Ari Figue’s Cat
Reposting this pre-review of my novel from Goodreads.
We cannot know both the reality of the Snow Angel and the trajectory of our desire. The one will erase the other, opposite poles of attraction we cannot hold together. But somewhere, (who cannot believe it will be so!) we may hear a Voice that will lead us to some greater freedom, from the prisons of memory, to visions of the Peaceable Kingdom, lead us on a Winter’s Night, t, even to the Left Side of the World, and grant us the gift of a new name.
So it was for Jacob, who first saw the angel on the Frankford El, and where she fell in the snow–a photograph, a note, an address to the house of Nacht. What could he do, but follow the signs? Ah, but there will be fire to pass through if you are to meet the messenger, with riddles, like koans that have no end. Follow the cat. Run your finger over the alphabet–feel where his teeth have left their marks, close your eyes, draw pictures in the dark, let your fingers tell the story, like reading brail, that it may unfold, not in words, but out of the unfathomable silence of the body.
Paperback, 233 pages
Expected publication: May 25th 2015 by Deep Sett Press
Jacob Russell’s Ari Figue’s Cat does what few novels do: grabs you and won’t let go, without resorting to the cheap gimmicks New York agents rave about (explosions, long lost siblings, incest, and other soap opera tactics).
The Cat is the multiplicity of consciousness, a la Schrödinger, but Russell never lets the scale of his art’s inquiry overshadow the simple humanity of his characters; each is painted delicately and humanely– appropriate, as the author is also a painter.
This book provides no easy answers; if it had, I would not have read it. It is the kind of art we have always needed: questioning, beautiful, full of soul.