Lynne Truss (of Eats, Shoots & Leaves fame) has written an odd but very funny little novella called Cat Out of Hell, that, in its gothic horror touches and eerie weirdness reminded me of great weird writers like MR James, HP Lovecraft and Susan Hill.
The scene: a cottage on the coast on a windy evening. Inside, a room with curtains drawn. Tea has just been made. A kettle still steams. Under a pool of yellow light, two figures face each other across a kitchen table. A man and a cat. The story about to be related is so unusual yet so terrifyingly plausible that it demands to be told in a single sitting. The man clears his throat, and leans forward, expectant. ‘Shall we begin?’ says the cat…
There are e-miaows, death by ” feline body-surfing asphyxiation”, various humans in thrall to, or fighting the evil cats. I read an interview the other day with Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, who revealed that what most surprises him about the internet today are the pictures and videos of cats and kittens, so obviously a lack of opposable thumbs is no barrier to world domination.
This is a very silly, oddly satisfying, and very clever little tale, with, despite the whimsicality, a rather frightening hair-raising thread running through it and of course, it is punctuated absolutely correctly.