October 12, 2005

The Rabbi's Cat

The Rabbi's Cat
Joann Sfar


(October 12, 2005)

In this adorable and intriguing graphic novel, a rabbi's pet cat in pre-war Algeria eats the family's annoying parrot, an obnoxious animal who has nothing to say and says it endlessly. The cat, now able to speak, decides he wants a bar mitzvah -- not because he loves G-d, but because he adores the rabbi's daughter. Cleverly, and often hilariously, Sfar touches on a host of interesting questions, beginning with that most pressing debate: should a Jew prefer cats to dogs?

The book is lovingly drawn, and though I found it visually unremarkable, the memories of a vanished Algeria help Sfar manage pacing and rhythm.