Max and the Cats by Moacyr Scliar

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Synopsis

Max Schmidt grew up in the stockroom of his father's fur store, cloaked among the foxes, minks, and leopards, hiding from the glaring eyes of a stuffed tiger atop the wardrobe. It is here he dreams of traveling to distant lands; and here, as a young man, he begins an affair with the store's married clerk.

Forced to flee when his lover's husband discovers the affair and denounces Max to the Nazi secret police, Max steals away to Hamburg, where he takes passage on a freighter destined for disaster. When the ship founders somewhere off the coast of South America, Max is trapped in a dinghy with a hungry jaguar. Max believes his days are numbered-until he washes ashore on the coast of tiny Porto Alegre, Brazil, prepared to begin anew in the tropical clime.

But when Max discovers his next-door neighbor is a Nazi hiding from persecution, he finds that for the first time in his life, he is the master of his own destiny, ready to take matters into his own hands...
 

About Moacyr Scliar

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Scliar was born and still lives in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. A physician since 1962, Scliar started his career as a writer telling stories about his experiences as a young doctor. He is a prolific writer and has produced more than 10 novels, many of which have won literary prizes. He studied at the Yiddish College in Porto Alegre and went to a Catholic school for his secondary studies. This childhood experience provided the imaginative background for many of his stories. His writing has much of what he called "his Jewishness": "As much as possible I live in peace with my Jewishness. I have extracted from it what it has of the best: fantasy, ethical substance, and above all, humor" (Escrever & Viver). The Centaur in the Garden is a story about a centaur who is Brazilian and Jewish, a fantasy of the half-horse, half-human child who grows into adulthood in search of his identity.
 
Published April 14, 1990 by Ballantine Books. 99 pages
Genres: Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Max and the Cats

Kirkus Reviews

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A slender, sometimes flatly translated fable (under 100 pages) by the Brazilian writer Scliar (The Strange Nation of Rafael Mendes) that sends its young protagonist on a coming-of, age excursion from Germany to Brazil in the Nazi era.

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Publishers Weekly

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Originally published in Brazil in 1981, Scliar's novella tells, with a sharp eye but a glancing touch, the story of a boy at the mercy of terrible forces, who grows into a man similarly powerle

Nov 03 2003 | Read Full Review of Max and the Cats

Publishers Weekly

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The books have little in common but a feline-plagued castaway—a scene that occupies only 20 pages in Max and the Cats—and ironically, the connection to Martel's Man Booker winner may be this volume's best chance of good sales .

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Entertainment Weekly

Last year, Yann Martel, a Booker Prize winner for Life of ''Pi,'' informed reporters that his book (about a boy and a tiger sharing a lifeboat) was inspired by a John Updike review of Scliar's 1980 novel.

Dec 05 2003 | Read Full Review of Max and the Cats

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