Apr 16, 2009

The Tygrine Cat by Inbali Iserles

The Tygrine Cat by Inbali Iserles

The Tygrine Cat is the story of Mati, a young cat who travels by ship from his distant homeland, and eventually makes his way to the community of stray cats that lives at Cressida Market. Mati only has vague memories of his life before the long journey. He remember his mother urging him on the ship, and he knows there was something he was meant to remember, something about the three pillars of feline wisdom.

After Mati’s arrival, a series of strange things begin to happen at Cressida Market. Many of the cats are quick to blame the newcomer, but the truth is much darker, stranger, and older than that. In fact, the roots of what is happening go back a long, long time.

I really, really enjoyed The Tygrine Cat. Reading it I was reminded of Varjak Paw by S.F. Said, but that’s only natural as both are children’s fantasies featuring a young cat as a hero. But beyond these superficial similarities, they’re each their own thing, and they each have their own atmosphere. I do think, however, that fans of Varjak Paw are likely to enjoy this book.

The Tygrine Cat is a very gripping, suspenseful and action-packed story. And it’s also a story about belonging, friendship and prejudice. What Mati experiences as a newcomer to the Cressida Market community isn’t all that different from what countless human immigrants experience on a daily basis. The other cats are suspicious of him because he’s an outsider from a different land, with different habits, a different culture. They’re quick to jump to conclusions about him and to blame him when things go wrong.

But I hope I’m not making The Tygrine Cat sound like a heavy-handed allegory of the immigrant experience. This is a book that has something there if you look under the surface, but it’s also a wonderfully told and very fun story.

There was a detail about The Tygrine Cat that really made me smile: in the story, the cats sometimes ask one another, “Have you ever owned?”. Meaning that it is them who own and are responsible for the “hind”, or human, who takes care of them. I think most cat owners will recognize some truth in this.

I must be god lolcat

In conclusion: a very enjoyable book, with just the right amount of suspense and depth. And of course, it's extra fun for those who love cats.

Other Opinions:
Valentina’s Room

(Let me know if I missed yours.)

And you can also read Valentina’s lovely interview with Inbali Iserles.


  1. Great review and I love the picture of the cat and dog - it's so true.

  2. Oh man, I love that cover! It is funny that you mention Varjack Paw as that was the first thing I saw when I saw the book cover. As always, Nymeth, your reviews are top notch.

  3. Sounds like a good book Nymeth-cool cover. I think all pets own their owners, whether cats or dogs. lol. Mine does!

  4. This sounds like an awesome book! I don't know if I will be able to read it for awhile though, as we just lost a beloved cat last night. I think that maybe in time I would be able to buy this book for my daughter and I to share. Thanks for the great review.

  5. I am really pleased you liked it. I was beginning to think I had way out there taste. I forgot about the 'hinds' reference. My cat believes he is in charge of the house! But then so does the dog and the rabbit.

  6. Ahem:

    But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
    And that is the name that you never will guess;
    The name that no human research can discover -
    But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
    When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
    The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
    His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
    Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
    His ineffable effable
    Deep and inscrutable singular Name.
    I think I'm going to have to read this one.

  7. Sounds good. There are some interesting cat books around these days.

  8. I think I really would enjoy reading a book from the perspective of a cat--especially a suspenseful one! Definitely true that cats own their humans! :)

  9. LOL! I love that picture with the cat and the dog. It's so funny and so true.

    I'm not usually into reading books told from an animal's perspective but you make this sounds very interesting.

  10. I'm going to have to check this book out, especially because the Warrior Books written by Erin Hunter are wildly popular at my school. That series encompasses the cat world and is really entertaining and fun to read. Loved your review and I agree with Dar...my dog owns me!! :)

  11. Oh, I'm glad and excited that you read this book and enjoyed it because I've this in my pile! :D

    And that's so funny about the cat's and the dog's thoughts, hehe.

  12. Who doesn't love a good cat story? And that picture is great and so true. I'm sure my pets are thinking the same thing right now--especially as Maggie is luxuriously lying by my side and Lexi is under the coffee table looking up at us with those puppy dog eyes.

  13. The cover is great, but I'm not sure I could get into a book with a cat as the main character!! I'm not a huge Cat fan.

    Still, you make this sound really delightful!! (sheesh...that makes me sound like my grandma!)

  14. Oh man, this sounds so like an Annie book. And I just can't for the life of me remember if she has this one or not. I'm definitely going to show her this review though!

    You know what I figure both cats and dogs think about humans? I think that in general they like us, and certainly find us useful, but I have a sneaking suspicion that they think we're complete idiots. And if that's so, I'm not sure they're far off the mark. ;)

  15. Great review! This sounds like a very good book; I'll have to check it out on Amazon. The picture is hilarious!!


  16. Wow...a story with cats would be great even though I am not too fond of them.

    Where do you get all these books? I've never even heard about 3/4 books you review :)

  17. bermudaonion: Isn't it? :P

    Carl V: me too! You know, I think I actually enjoyed this more than Varjak Paw. And thank you, Carl :D

    Dar: lol, it's true. My dogs own me too.

    Zibilee: wow, I'm so so so so sorry :( Losing a pet is horrible. I had a big cat health scare last weekend, so the possibility has been on my mind recently :( I'm very sorry for your loss *hugs*

    Scrap Girl: lol, you don't. You have a cat, a dog and a rabbit! That's awesome. How do they get along?

    Loren Eaton: Gotta love Old Possum :D

    Cath: I know! I've always liked animal fantasies. And if it's cats, all the better.

    Laura: They really do :P

    J.S. Peyton: teh LOLcats always know teh truth :P

    Staci: I've seen the Warrior books around too, and I'm very curious about them!

    Melody: I hope you enjoy it too!

    Trish: lol. I bet they are :P They own us. Will Maggie be yout faithful read-a-thon companion? I'm counting on Pedrez :P

    Stephanie: Not a cat fan???! *gasp* Nah, I'm just kidding :P

    Debi: I do think it's an Annie book! And in a few years, a Max book as well! And lol, we ARE idiots :P A lot of the time, at least.

    Annie: isn't it? I think you'd really enjoy this.

    Violet: This one was given to me by the lovely Valentina at Valentina's Room. She reviewed it too a while ago, but before that I hadn't heard of it either.

  18. I'm so glad you liked it!! You are so spot on about the immigrants similarity.
    And that photo captions are hilarious and so true:)

  19. You always read the coolest books -that I have heard nothing about. Lovely review (as always).

    ♥ Nely

  20. I think my son might be too young for this book, but I will have to keep it in mind as he gets older. He loves cat books and just started reading the book Cat Magic (I don't remember the author's name).

  21. I love cats and books about them- this sounds right up my alley! (no pun intended). The Lol picture you shared is so funny- made me smile.

  22. Sold! My cats (especially Morgaine) defintely own e and are treated as gods

  23. I have been eying this one ever since it arrived on my library shelves. Sounds like I'd better read it soon!

  24. A cat is the hero? Don't think I've ever read anything like this before. I'll have to add it to my list.

  25. Great review, Ana! This is the book I've been eyeing for a while and hope to get soon. :)


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