Fic­tion

The Rabbi’s Cat

Joann Sfar
  • From the Publisher
September 30, 2014
The pre­em­i­nent work by one of France’s most cel­e­brat­ed young comics 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.

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