This is the story of a love triangle between a young married couple and the husband’s cat. And I mean this literary. At first I though the cat was only going to be a symbol, but no, he is really in love with Saha, the cat.

After they marry, Alain and Camille move temporarily into an apartment, leaving Saha behind in Alain’s former house (where he lived with his mother…). Both Alain and Saha suffer and pine so she eventually moves in with them. From this point on there is really no chance for Camille. Emotionally, Alain can one connect with Saha so a frustrated and jealous Camille ends up pushing the cat off the balcony.

I had fun reading The Cat – made me want to read more Colette – and found particularly insightful Alain’s inner voice while he tries to deal with his lust/repulsion of Camille.

People more able than I will be able to peel off the layers of meaning and analyse the story is all kinds of ways: the cat as a symbol of Alain’s free-spirited single life, Camille’s sexual confidence vs. Alain’s prudishness, the 9th floor apartment vs. the house with the garden (Eden?), their endless car rides that never go anywhere and are the one thing they both enjoy. Unfortunately, I’m not one for symbolic analysis and socio-political-historical context, so I was especially interested in how cat-lovers vs. others saw the story.

Are cat-lovers more prone to be sympathetic towards Alain? I’m in the second group and was just hoping that Camille, after she leaves Alain’s garden in that last page, goes straight to the phone and calls a couple of girl-friends over for drinks. Together they will just laugh their heads off at what a lucky escape Camille had, how it was not the cat she should have pushed off the balcony, and how completely bonkers Alain is. Good-riddance!

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