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Book Review

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The Ears of a Cat


Author: Roderick Hart
Publisher: Matador
314 pages
RRP: £8.99
ISBN: 978 1 83859 144 1
Publication Date: 28 November 2019

I think that most people would agree that there are too many humans on the planet. We are burning through our natural resources, polluting the oceans with plastic and causing global warming. A solution needs to be found. Perhaps renewable energy, recycling or population control. For some, like the members of Future World, these solutions are just papering over the gaps. Their solution, the complete extermination of the human race…

The Ears of a Cat (314 pages) is a darkly humorous novel about a group of people trying to kill the human race. The novel was written by Roderick Hart. Overall, I quite liked the book, but it was not without its faults. Some can be laid at the feet of the author, others are probably the fault of the publishing house.

The book opens in a very staccato frenetic manner as the story jumps from character to character, location to location in what seems a very short period of time. This made the story quite hard to get into and made it a little difficult to care about either the characters or their situation. Thankfully, this settled down quite quickly, but it’s a jarring way to open a story.

The other problem, and in some ways is related to the first, is when there are jarring perspective shifts within single pages. Page 40, for instance, has Klein getting ready for his day. We follow him through his ablutions, when he is contacted by an agent. For no discernible reason we then have a paragraph from her perspective before we return to Klein. The fact that the author chose to do this is odd, but it’s his book, and such snappy transitions between characters are in no way highlighted. Even leaving a larger gap at the beginning and end of such paragraphs would indicate to the reader that this is a shift.

Even though I didn’t really get the fervour or intensity I would have expected from a bunch of characters looking for a way to end the human race, the process by which they attempt to go about it was interesting to read. Characterisation and character development were strong, regardless of the genocide they were contemplating.

Having good/bad intentions is never enough. It is not easy to wipe out the human race, leaving the planet to the animals and plants. Nuclear weapons, even small like dirty bombs, would have collateral damage. The group focus in on stealing a particularly virulent strain of flu, one if released into the population should kill most, if not all, humans on the planet.

The dark humour often springs from the group’s inability to competently carry out their own plans. The virus has to be stolen and released and this turns out to be more difficult than they think. Lastly, I did like the inclusion of the cat, Schnuki and the monologues that Cooper, one of the main protagonists, has with her cat, hence the title of the book.


Charles Packer

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