Another Insane Devotion: On the Love of Cats and Persons (Hardcover)

On the Love of Cats and Persons

By Peter Trachtenberg

Da Capo Press, 9780738215266, 304pp.

Publication Date: November 13, 2012



From a genuine American Dostoevsky (The Washington Post): a dazzling, funny, bittersweet exploration of the mysteries of relationship, both human and animal.
When his favorite cat Biscuit goes missing, Peter Trachtenberg sets out to find her. The journey takes him 700 miles and many years into his past-- into the history of his relationships with cats and the history of his relationship with his wife F., who may herself be on the verge of disappearing. What ensues is a work that recalls travel narratives from The Incredible Journey to W. G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn. Trachtenberg ponders the mysteries of feline intelligence (why do cats score worse on some tests than pigeons?), the origins of their domestication, their terrible treatment during the Middle Ages. He also looks at the riddle of why any of us loves whom we love and all the unforeseen places to which that devotion leads us.

About the Author

Peter Trachtenberg is the author of the memoir "7 Tattoos" and "The Book of Calamaties: Five Questions About Suffering and Its Meaning." His essays, journalism, and short fiction have been published in "The New Yorker, Harper's, BOMB, TriQuarterly, O, The New York Times Travel Magazine, " and "A Public Space." His commentaries have been broadcast on NPR'S "All Things Considered." The recipient of a Whiting Writers Fellowship and a Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Trachtenburg was also honored for "The Book of Calamities," which was the recipient of the 2009 Phi Beta Kappa Ralph Waldo Emerson Award "for scholarly studies that contribute significantly to interpretations of the intellectual and cultural condition of humanity."

Praise For Another Insane Devotion: On the Love of Cats and Persons

Eileen Myles, author of Cool for You and Inferno
“This is Peter’s best book and if you don’t know what that means just imagine your sweetest, most perverse storytelling friend asks to meet because he has a confession to make. When you arrive he informs you that he loves his cat more than life itself, or exactly that much and then he opens his shirt and shows you the cat tattoo and then he begins to tell you of his love and in a puff hours vanish and it’s absolutely riveting.” 
Nick Flynn, author of  Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
“I am not a cat person—I approach each one on a cat-by-cat basis—yet Peter Trachtenberg is such a wonderful writer, and this book is so damn good, that I found myself carried along by its lucidity, its generosity, its deep wisdom. In the end, of course, Another Insane Devotion is about much more than cats.”

Publishers Weekly, 9/10/12“Through short sections of intelligent, often humorous prose, former and potential girlfriends and past pets are conjured in hopes of understanding how people can fall in and out of love…Trachtenberg’s journey proves entertaining and enlightening.”

T: The New York Times Style Magazine, 10/7/12Another Insane Devotion—about love, sex, marriage and especially cats—is a hallmark of brainy discursiveness.”