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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Henri, le Chat Noir Will Obliterate the Feline Competition

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2013 at 10:31 AM

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New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a series on books produced in the Bay Area.

Last week, the New York Times' Liesl Schillinger declared 2013 "The Year of the Cat," and the evidence suggests she is correct. Monopoly has ousted the flatiron, aka nobody's favorite token, in favor of a silver cat. Grumpycats.com was in demand at South by Southwest. There are books on training cats, dealing with cat OCD, and getting inside a cat's brain.

And, of course, there is Vinecats.com.

Read also: The End of San Francisco

Public Displays of Oddity

I have watched this phenomenon with great interest, but alas, I have done so from afar. It's what the doctor ordered. Nonetheless, I have observed these refined, insidious creatures, and while sitting on my hands in an antihistamine infused stupor, I have cultivated lofty suspicions. While my dog barks at every motorcycle that vrooms down our street, I always believe a cat would instead sit still for a debate on Derrida's reading of Rousseau.

Before William Brandon's cat, Henri, became an online sensation, I received rather strange stares when I shared this observation. But Henri's interminable sense of ennui proved palpable, even through the screen, and now his new book, Henri, le Chat Noir, will obliterate the feline competition. (If such a thing mattered, but it doesn't, because nothing really matters, does it?)

How, you may ask, is the book any different Henri's other offerings? "I've finally freed myself from subjugation by publishing a book of my philosophical ideas," Henri explains in his new video. "For the first time, my words and thoughts will be free from his [Brandon's] interference. No longer will he accept awards for my success," he concludes, only to first smell, and then see, the betrayal: a cardboard cut-out of Brandon holding his new book.

Lest I be called an interloper by a cat who muses in French, the Berkeley-based Ten Speed Press has supplied us with sample pages to tempt you:

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Henri, le Chat Noir was released yesterday, and should be available where most books are sold. Henri does not tour, and believes such expectations only highlight your fleeting and illusory sense of self-entitlement.

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Alexis Coe

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