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Varjak Paw by SF Said
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Varjak Paw (2003)

by SF Said

Other authors: Dave McKean (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Varjak Paw (1)

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» See also 25 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
I saw this book in the store, and the cat on the front cover was so adorable that I had to buy it for my sister. Of course, then I had to read it before giving it to her!
This is definitely a kids' book - not even YA, but for younger children.
However - it's also an excellent book. McKean's illustrations are perfect for the characters and the story.
Varjak is a young Mesopotamian Blue cat who's been brought up to think he's something special. However, when his owner disappears and a strange and sinister man appears in his family's house, a dream connection with his legendary ancestor leads him to venture into the dangerous outside world, where he learns to reevaluate his priorities - as well as questing to save his family from the danger he's sure they're in.
It's a sweet story - but it's also got some genuinely spooky elements - and it's definitely in the realm of the fantastic.
Oh yeah, and did I mention how excellent Dave McKean's illustrations are? He rocks! ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
An amazing read! ( )
  bashour | Dec 24, 2015 |
A tale of bravery and heroism about a young cat who leaves home to learn the skills he needs to save his family. I love the way classic tropes are used here - an aristocratic family heedless of its own impending doom, a setting of secluded luxury that is under a threat they won't even acknowledge, and an unregarded younger son, weak, a dreamer, who in a mixture of courage and foolhardiness sets out to explore the wider world. Of course, it's all done here with cats. Varjak Paw is a Mesopotamian Blue who lives in the home of the Countess. But the Countess is sick, perhaps dying, and there is a mysterious Gentlemen and his strange black cats, and Varjak knows something is terribly wrong. Inspired by the tales of his heroic ancestor, Jalal, Varjak climbs the wall and goes into the city, where he encounters gangs and dogs and cars and vanishing, but also trains in the Way Of Jalal, which will give him the power to challenge the Gentleman and his deadly cats and save his family.

Embellished with Dave McKean's beautiful, sinuous, shadowy illustrations, this is an utterly fantastic and captivating tale, a new iteration of an ancient tradition that still has the power to rouse and inspire. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
While Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke was our Oregon audiobook, Varjak Paw by S.F. Said was our Washington (and specifically, Mt Rainier) book. It is about a young Abyssinian Blue house cat who must leave the safety of the house to find help after the old lady dies.

In terms of basic animal adventure, Varjak Paw reminds me most of Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams. The history of the Abyssinian Blues is told through a rich oral history — similar to many a creation story but from a feline point of view.

On a more basic level, it is the tale of a cat experiencing the outside. He is in search of a great and fierce creature — a dog — but he doesn't know what a dog is. So he mistakes automobiles for dogs. This is one of many errors he makes on his adventure.

Along the way Varjak becomes aware of a mystery affecting all the alley cats. The cats are going missing. In their place is a horrific replacement. These monstrosities are some of the most disturbing things in a children's audio I've ever heard. But they are an important part of the story.

To make the experience of this audio all the more special, it's performed by George Guidall. Normally I listen to his readings of adult series: The Navajo Mysteries by Tony Hillerman and the Cat Who books by Lilian Jackson Braun. Varjak Paw because of the emphasis on creation myths and spiritual enlightenment and because it is cast with cats, is the prefect blending of Guidall's other work. ( )
  pussreboots | Mar 16, 2014 |
Not stunning, but nice. The way the cats talk and think is fairly convincing and Varjak makes for a decent hero. The illustrations definitely add to the atmosphere.
The philosophical / mystical part is a bit thin and predictable, but really, what can you expect?

All in all quite entertaining. It resembles Tailchaser's Song in many ways. If you liked that, try this too, and the other way around. ( )
  Moem | Mar 11, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
SF Saidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McKean, DaveIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kurkijärvi, ReetuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440420768, Paperback)

Mesopotamian Blue cat, Varjak Paw, has never been Outside before; he and his family have always lived in the isolated house at the top of the hill. But Varjak is forced out into the city when the sinister Gentleman and his two menacing cats take over his home. With help from his mystical ancestor, Jalal, Varjak manages to overcome challenges such as self-survival and a threat from the gangland cats, and he ultimately discovers the terrifying secrets behind the Vanishings. But can he save his own family from their fate?

With wonderful integrated illustrations from acclaimed comic book artist Dave McKean, this book will appeal to all ages.


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:37 -0400)

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Dorrie, the little witch, foils the plan of the Halloween demons to kidnap the Great Sorceress and steal the Book of Shadows, and is rewarded by a promise of flying lessons from the Great Sorceress herself.

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