The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

The Rabbi's Cat

The preeminent work by one of France’s most celebrated young comic artists, The Rabbi’s Cat tells the wholly unique story of a rabbi, his daughter, and their talking cat — a philosopher brimming with scathing humor and surprising tenderness.

In Algeria in the 1930s, a cat belonging to a widowed rabbi and his beautiful daughter, Zlabya, eats the family parrot and gains the a

In Algeria in the 1930s, a cat belonging to a widowed rabbi and his beautiful daughter, Zlabya, eats the family parrot and gains the ability to speak. To his master’s consternation, the cat immediately begins to tell lies (the first being that he didn’t eat the parrot). The rabbi vows to educate him in the ways of the Torah, while the cat insists on studying the kabbalah and having a Bar Mitzvah. They consult the rabbi’s rabbi, who maintains that a cat can’t be Jewish — but the cat, as always, knows better.

Zlabya falls in love with a dashing young rabbi from Paris, and soon master and cat, having overcome their shared self-pity and jealousy, are accompanying the newlyweds to France to meet Zlabya’s cosmopolitan in-laws. Full of drama and adventure, their trip invites countless opportunities for the rabbi and his cat to grapple with all the important — and trivial — details of life.

Rich with the colors, textures, and flavors of Algeria’s Jewish community, The Rabbi’s Cat brings a lost world vibrantly to life — a time and place where Jews and Arabs coexisted — and peoples it with endearing and thoroughly human characters, and one truly unforgettable cat.
…more


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    Melki

    Feb 08, 2012

    rated it
    really liked it

     · 
    review of another edition

    The good news is – the cat can speak!
    The bad news is – he only tells lies!

    Well, the second part is wrong, but he is one argumentative puss!
    He argues theology with the rabbi, and makes fun of the man’s students, going so far as to follow one young man to see if he frequents a whorehouse.

    Cat and rabbi make a great comic duo. Observe this exchange where cat is reading aloud to the rabbi:

    Cat – “Because if you want I can look for a fable with only kosher animals.”
    Rabbi – “Ah! Shut up and read.”
    Cat –

    Well, the second part is wrong, but he is one argumentative puss!
    He argues theology with the rabbi, and makes fun of the man’s students, going so far as to follow one young man to see if he frequents a whorehouse.

    Cat and rabbi make a great comic duo. Observe this exchange where cat is reading aloud to the rabbi:

    Cat – “Because if you want I can look for a fable with only kosher animals.”
    Rabbi – “Ah! Shut up and read.”
    Cat – “Do you want me to shut up or read?”

    Despite the cute cover and talking animal theme, this is not a book for children. Besides the aforementioned brothel thing, there are discussions of human sexuality and a few depictions of hot, rooftop cat sex. Cat has definitely not been neutered.

    It’s hard not to like Cat even though he is an insufferable smarty-pants; his arguments just make so much sense! Even I managed to learn a thing or two from him. The most important lesson? Every now and then – It’s worth shutting your mouth to be happy.
    …more

    Nat

    Mar 06, 2017

    rated it
    really liked it

    This has been on my wishlist for ages because the promise of representing practicing Jewish characters in the graphic novel format (by an #ownvoices author!!!) sounded just like my kind of thing.

    Set in Algeria in the 1930s, a cat belonging to a widowed rabbi and his beautiful daughter, Zlabya, eats the family parrot and gains the ability to speak. To his master’s consternation, the cat immediately begins to tell lies (the first being that he didn’t eat the parrot). The rabbi vows to educate him

    Set in Algeria in the 1930s, a cat belonging to a widowed rabbi and his beautiful daughter, Zlabya, eats the family parrot and gains the ability to speak. To his master’s consternation, the cat immediately begins to tell lies (the first being that he didn’t eat the parrot). The rabbi vows to educate him in the ways of the Torah, while the cat insists on studying the kabbalah and having a Bar Mitzvah. They consult the rabbi’s rabbi, who maintains that a cat can’t be Jewish — but the cat, as always, knows better.

    Zlabya falls in love with a dashing young rabbi from Paris, and soon master and cat, having overcome their shared self-pity and jealousy, are accompanying the newlyweds to France to meet Zlabya’s cosmopolitan in-laws. Full of drama and adventure, their trip invites countless opportunities for the rabbi and his cat to grapple with all the important — and trivial — details of life.

    There’s so much I crave to discuss, so let’s start at the beginning:


    description

    These topics are ones I see and talk about in my daily life, but unfortunately rarely in the books I read… So I’ll never stop thanking Joann Sfar for giving Jews this major platform.


    description

    And I loved the concept of the cat wanting to study the Kabbalah, since I recently got myself a book on the same topic.


    description


    description

    I was expecting this book to focus heavily on Zlabya and the cat (since they’re on the book cover), but that wasn’t the case. The Rabbi’s Cat, like the title suggest, is more about the bickering between the Rabbi and his cat, which I gradually grew fond of.


    description

    On that note, I laughed uncontrollably a number of times at some of the more crude remarks made by the cat, such as:


    description


    description

    I still feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to see these kinds of conversations in a book!!!


    description

    Ha! Family is everything…

    But with all that I loved, once the family traveled to Paris – to meet with the family of Zlabya’s husband – the narrative became a bit unclear. Plus, the emphasis on Jewish traditions being slowly dropped to make place for Western culture made the graphic novel deteriorate in quality for me. I cherished The Rabbi’s Cat for solely focusing on Jews in Algeria and their customs and traditions. So when halfway through the storyline shifted to make space for Western culture, I was let down. The author had such a great opportunity to educate and enlighten people on Sephardi Jews – which he did greatly for the first half – but then in the last part decides to give the spotlight once again to the Westerns…


    description

    I wish this moment would’ve been expanded to talk more about how messed up some white people are…


    description


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    All in all: The Rabbi’s Cat is something I’ll cherish for a long time to come; it’s not everyday that you find something so close to home. And thankfully there’s a movie adaptation that I plan on watching next!

    4.5/5 stars


    Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying
    The Rabbi’s Cat, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

    This review and more can be found on my blog.
    …more

    Jan Rice


    “Sfar-Rabbis Daughter”. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sfa…

    The Rabbi’s Cat, by French artist and writer Joann Sfar is a graphic novel set in Algeria in the 1930s.

    Despite how his name sounds in English, the author isn’t a woman. It’s Joann as in Johann: John! Here he is with the model for his fictional cat:

    Approaching this review, all I could think of at first was cat puns: The Cat-cher in the Rye. The cat without which there is nothing. A feline of v

    The Rabbi’s Cat, by French artist and writer Joann Sfar is a graphic novel set in Algeria in the 1930s.

    Despite how his name sounds in English, the author isn’t a woman. It’s Joann as in Johann: John! Here he is with the model for his fictional cat:

    Approaching this review, all I could think of at first was cat puns: The Cat-cher in the Rye. The cat without which there is nothing. A feline of valor–although this is a male cat, an un-neutered male cat. Cat thee behind me! And, of course, the cat’s pajamas.

    First thing, the cat gets his tongue: he becomes able to speak. Next thing you know, he’s demanding a bar mitzvah, then to study Kabbalah, and the ensuing theological consternation leads to the first adventure–or maybe it’s the second already. The cat is rebellious. He’s a handful. But so are the people. All are very very human, meaning contradictory, struggling, caring, and loving beings, unpredictably tangled up with each others’ fates.

    The cat can’t understand why anyone would be a rabbi:

    It’s as if a cat took it into his head to look after the other cats.

    The cat doesn’t accept fundamentalist theology:

    I answer that even a kitten would not buy this nonsense.

    The cat has a wolfish look about him. This is because he’s some sort of skinny Oriental breed with a long nose. On Facebook the author says his cat is from Siam.

    The rabbi’s cat and its model (from the Facebook page):

    When the cat once again loses his voice, his owner, in the midst of a crisis of faith, thinks God won’t speak to him and now his cat doesn’t want to speak to him either. He of course assumes the cat is not speaking on purpose.

    This is a serious yet very funny book. The author maintains a light touch throughout. It’s not that, when he needles, his needles aren’t sharp. They are very sharp indeed, but so artfully applied that the effect is less like piercing than like acupuncture. It is all in the family, all done with absolute honesty but with a substrata of understanding and compassion. The truth will out, and better out than in, should be his motto.

    I was excited to find this article before reading the book. It’s helpful as to the author’s background and oeuvre, but didn’t quite get to the spirit I felt behind the words and narrative, barbed though it may be.

    The rabbi’s nephew explains why his singing act on the streets of Paris is in the guise of an Arab:

    Because to play a Jew you have to have a Polish accent, and I don’t know how to do it. Playing a North African Jew just doesn’t work; people aren’t interested; it’s too complicated for them…. The public, Uncle, doesn’t like things that are complicated.

    As they approach the nephew’s apartment, the rabbi asks if there’s any more bad news. The nephew replies that, no, he’s not a pimp, and his girlfriend isn’t a whore.

    She is Catholic though.

    You…you…and is it serious, you and this young woman?

    Oh, listen, Uncle, with all due respect, shut up…. No, I’m sorry. Let me put it this way, man to man: I’m madly in love with her, but since she’s a singer, she’s banging half of Paris in addition to me. So when she doesn’t come home at night, I get drunk, and if it goes on much longer I’ll end up blowing my brains out.

    (My master lets out a sigh of relief.) So there hasn’t really been any talk of marriage yet, right?

    You are missing the demonic sarcastic smirk on the nephew’s face when he made his little speech in this graphic novel.

    The rabbi is a teddy bear; his daughter slant-eyed and enticing, the cat is alternately feline and wolfish. Words may be the sine qua non, but here the pictures frame them.

    This is my first graphic novel, the first one I’ve ever finished, anyway. I read part of Will Eisner’s The Plot; it was very instructive but I bogged down. I have the graphic novel for Stephen King’s Dark Tower series; I read the books but not the graphic round-up. And I haven’t finished Chast’s Can’t we talk of something more pleasant? The Rabbi’s Cat may be better, but a key point is I committed to reading it for a book club. It’s not only wanting to talk about it; it’s that I said I would.

    I used to read comic books. I left a stack of Archie and Betty and Veronica comics in my childhood closet, and my mother threw them out. They would probably have been worth thousands. 🙂 There were some others, too, I think. In my young adulthood I had a couple of what I think were early R. Crumbs. One in particular was instructive. Later I hid them from my children and (I at least) never saw them again. I read cartoons and comic strips now, but I expect them to be short. I have cartoon collections but really haven’t read them straight through.

    It was hard reading words and pictures together. I kept going back to look at the pictures. Then I got going and realized I was just reading. But I kept feeling as though I were forgetting. I probably forget most of what I read, too, but there’s less to remind me of the process.

    At any rate, mission accomplished.

    The translation is sharp.

    The book is a movie, too.

    I used to say Roz Chast is my favorite cartoonist, but now I’ll have to say she’s my favorite New Yorker cartoonist. She does get mean-spirited on occasion!

    Given that the author is such a success in France, across-the-board depictions of France as an antisemitic society can’t be the whole picture.

    What I think is so special about Sfar is that he speaks. This book, after all, is about human beings who are Jews. I have heard about the period before WWI and the time between the wars that Jews post-emancipation achieved the ability to contribute to the societies in which they lived, but in spite of being Jews, not as Jews. In modern times such things are no longer supposed to be an issue, but I dare say they still are.

    So, good for Sfar.

    Sfar, so good.

    …more