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Rat by Andrzej Zaniewski
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I’ve always liked rodents. In fact, it was the mysterious cover art of the rat face hidden in darkness that first attracted me to pick up this book. Starting to read, I discovered that the story was told from a rat’s point of view. I found following the life of the rat a worrisome and harrowing experience. This was only made more difficult by sensing the fear which was a constant in the rat’s life. There was also a pervading theme of death, although I tried to not let this distract me from the story. The author jarringly changed voices, moving erratically and at whim through first and second person narration, sometimes in the same paragraph. I don’t know why he did this, but I could feel myself becoming just as disoriented as the rat itself. Was this the author’s subtle way of grabbing my attention?

The book was shocking. For either a person fearful of rats or one who loves them, there was enough in this story to startle anyone. I’ve not read another book quite like it. I’d qualify it as a definite read for people who like things that are odd or experimental. In the few places that the narrative became a bit tedious, I forgave the author as so, too, must be the life of a rat. In the end, I was surprised by how well the author ensnared me into his rat’s world, thereby showing me my world from a rather odd perspective. ( )
3 vote SqueakyChu | Feb 6, 2009 |
Explores the savage existence of a rat, told from the perspective of a rat. Fast paced, brutal and at times absurd the life of a rat is believably depicted. ( )
1 vote gazzy | Feb 2, 2007 |
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Epigraph
I think we are in rats' alley
Where the dead men lost their bones.T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland
Dedication
First words
Darkness, like the darkness after birth, darkness all around.
Quotations
(Foreward)
The self-styled or divinely-appointed lords of creation, human beings should be tolerant protectors and friends of the billions of creatures whose languages they don't understand and whose behavior they judge according to schemes that are convenient for them.
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The story of a rat, narrated in the first person by the rat himself. He describes the places he has lived and his travels, including one in a ship which takes him to a country at war. He also describes his enemies: other rats, cats and above all people. The author is a Polish poet and he says he wrote the novel as a crusade for rats.… (more)

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