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Varjak Paw by SF Said

Varjak Paw (2003)

by SF Said

Other authors: Mc Kean David (Illustrator)

Series: Varjak Paw (1)

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4341924,268 (3.83)25
Recently added byprivate library, kd.09.foxton, amacord, karenb, Nigel_Quinlan, Americancornerlagos, davidgn



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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 |
"Varjak Paw is a Mesopotamian Blue kitten. He lives high up in an old house on a hill. He's never left home, until his grandfather tells him about the Way - a secret martial art for cats. Now Varjak must use the Way to survive in a city full of dangerous dogs, cat gangs, and the strangest of all, the mysterious Vanishings."

Varjak Paw is an absolutely adorable book. It's written for a younger reader, but it's a fun quick read - it took me about an hour and a half - for an adult too. ( )
  bluesalamanders | Aug 16, 2011 |
Varjak is a Mesoptamian Blue, the most noble of cat races. But he is not a true one, as his brother likes to remind him. His eyes are the wrong colour, the colour of danger, instead of green like the rest of his family.

They all live in the countess house, but things have been different for a while, they never see the countess, she is always in her room. When a strange gentleman with 2 black cats appears only Varjak and his grandfather sense the danger. Varjak's grandfather gives him the mission of finding help. It means going outside the wall that surrounds the house, and finding a dog. Varjak has never left home, and the only help from his gradfather is the Way, and even that is an incomplete knowledge. Varjak has to face the city, while learning the Way by himself.

Varjak Paw is a kid's book - it is a good story, with nice messages, fun parts and a lot of action. Yet, it's a kid's book, so it's a simple story, a kind of Karate Kid, with cats. You read it fast, you are amused, but you are not amazed and it's easy to get on with your next read.

For the little ones, it's a very nice book. But it loses its charm with older people. But this is just the story.

Now let's talk illustrations. Because the illustrations alone are the reason I'll keep this book. Unsurprisingly, they are of cats. But they are really good, and give a new dimension to the story. Dave McKean is a great illustrator, I knew that from other books, and this one is no exception.

Also at Spoilers and Nuts ( )
  quigui | May 23, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
SF Saidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mc Kean DavidIllustratorsecondary authorall 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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