The Rabbi’s Cat 2

Published By: Pantheon

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Comics & Graphic Novels

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Reviewed by Diane Snyder

This adult-themed graphics novel is set in 1930’s Algeria, however most of the issues such as religion and race are still current and unsettled.

The Rabbi’s Cat 2 is the second book featuring the Rabbi and his nameless cat that narrators, and not only talks to certain persons and most animals but is multilingual.

Initially I had mixed reactions to this my first graphic novel. However, after reading through the first story entitled “Heaven on Earth,” a second time, I discovered its biting charm and cryptic humor. The cat, along with an old lion and a snake, have an ongoing conversation as they follow Malka, a cousin of the rabbis, around the desert. The animals’comments about the humans around them come out as little gems of wisdoms that remind you of Aesop’s Fables.

Malka the wandering storyteller and his lion are getting old, and he longs to become a legend and a man of mystery so that people will forever search the desert for his grave. When Malka returns to town and the cat returns to his rabbi, the story shifts the action to the religious and cultural differences in Algiers.

“Africa’s Jerusalem” was longer and a little difficult story to follow in places. The rabbi’s daughter is unhappy with her husband, and a Russian painter is found as a stowaway in a box of books. All these events cause the entire town to become involved. With the help of the cat that can speak Russian, and another Russian living in Algiers, we learn that the painter is on a quest to find the black Jews and their city of Jerusalem in Africa. The expedition is launched with the painter, the Russian, the rabbi and his cat in an old truck. Much happens to this unlikely group on their pilgrimage – some good, some not so good.

Loved the art and the quirky faces of his characters. Their expressions often told the story without any conversations. You could just tell what they were thinking. My favorite character was the cat. He was such a sage and so Shakespearian-like in his assessment of human behaviors.

Would I read another graphic novel about the Rabbi and his cat? Absolutely! With pleasure!

Armchair Interviews says: Check out the new genre of graphic novels, stories with a comic book look.

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