By Peter Trachtenberg
Da Capo Press, $24.00, 304 pages, 3 stars
If someone combined a cat devotee’s blog with a man’s retrospection of several loves lost – both of the human and feline variety – you would have the basis of Peter Trachtenberg’s Another Insane Devotion: On the Love of Cats and Persons. While out of town for a teaching job, Trachtenberg’s cat Biscuit disappears and he spends a good chunk of the book debating whether to fly back home to search for her. In addition, Trachtenberg’s wife, known only as F. throughout, has also left him and he’s uncertain there will be reconciliation.
What follows are meditations on sex, love, marriage and mourning losses. Trachtenberg combines memories of Biscuit and F., as well as previous cats and lovers, with historical feline and marital tidbits. His biblical, literary and philosophical references show that he is well read. However, the memoir ultimately falls prey to the genre’s usual failing of too much navel-gazing, although many readers will no doubt find several relatable recollections to keep them engaged.
Reviewed by Sarah Hutchins