Thursday, January 23, 2014

Feral

Feral
by Berton Roueche
Avon 1974

A couple abandon a cat when they move.  They are bothered by feral cats.  The cats kill a cop.  A posse shoots all of the cats.

Pad that out to 124 pages with polite conversation with neighbors and calling local government agencies, and you have Berton Roueche's Feral.

The prose was so basic and childlike, in a "See Dick Run" kind of way, that I had to check if it was originally written in a foreign language and translated by first year students.
"Then the cats were on him.  They were all over him."
The above is from the thrilling murder of a policeman by a horde of cats.  The only human death on page in the entire book.  There were some other killings mentioned off hand, and some loose threads about the cats being unnaturally big or infected with horrible diseases, but they weren't picked up on.  The back cover copy heavily implies that the cats are eating people, but there's not really any of that in the story.

What I thought was the climax ended up being an epilogue, with a cheap stinger at the end of a trash can being knocked over, because, sweet heaven, there might still be a cat in the world!

Still, I would love to see a movie of this.  I could watch people shotgun cats all day.
"They're horrible and repulsive.  I mean, they aren't Sneakers.  They were never Sneakers.  They couldn't be Sneakers - they're evil."

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