Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Touch Not the Cat

And now for a complete change of pace from Flannery O'Conner:  Touch Not the Cat, Mary Stewart's awkwardly named novel that I enjoyed probably a bit more than I should have! Stewart is one of those mid-century British writers whose work I've discovered through blogging. I've read several of her novels over the past few years and have found them to be generally pleasant reads filled with cozy English settings, gentle characters, and hints of magical happenings here and there. In this book, though, Stewart seems to pull out all the stops. The story is crammed with every type of silly supernatural element you can imagine: a suspicious death, a crumbling estate, illegitimate family connections, a maze, a love story involving a telepathic connection with a mystery man, a pair of evil twins that have their own telepathic connection...all as depicted very literally on the 70's-era cover of my used copy.

I would be the first to admit that all of these elements seem way too over the top to come across as anything other than really cheesy, but somehow Stewart manages to make it all really fun. I was more than happy to just suspend my disbelief and just enjoy the pot as it unfolded. I think this might actually be my favorite Mary Stewart novel to date! 

Are there any novels that you've enjoyed even though they might sound silly on paper? 


  1. That cover is amazing! I hear great things about Mary Stewart but haven't actually read her yet.
    One book I read that I enjoyed but sounds very strange/silly on paper: Donald Harington's With. Young girl is kidnapped by a pedophile and taken to a remote mountain cabin in the Ozarks. He is soon out of the picture, without having done anything to her, and she is left on the mountain alone. So far, sounds harrowing and all that, right? But then! A dog starts telling some of the story, and also a ghost-ish type person, and I think some other animals might join in with their points of view. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but it sounds bonkers when describing it. Similarly, Michael Flynn's Eifelheim which is about aliens who crash-land in medieval Germany during the plague. Very moving book, difficult to convince someone to read it.

    1. I looked up Eifelheim and it actually does sound kind of intriguing!

  2. I read Stewart years ago and enjoyed her books, but this one is new to me. Sounds funny and interesting!



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