whenever M. John Harrison writes cats into his stories, the four-legged critters always steal the scene. always. whether perched on the shoulder of Michael Kearney in Light, refusing to get off Pam Stuyvesant's couch and window in The Course of the Heart, or streaming down the streets of Saudade in Nova Swing. real cats can't seem to help but be the most graceful metaphors, and this seems to suit Mr Harrison's particular slant on literature just fine.

so it was that i was totally enthralled by his 'straight epic fantasy' novel, The Wild Road, for, in case you didn't know, Gabriel King *is* M. John Harrison. did i just let the cat out of the bag?

sorry. couldn't resist.

only i never finished The Wild Road. strongly suspecting that Mabel - who fell in love with SF Said's Varjak Paw and who i seem to remember enjoyed the black cat's insouciance in Neil Gaiman's Coraline - would enjoy Tag's adventures as well, i left my copy with her when i left for Spore City. i got a copy of the sequel, The Golden Cat, and have been resisting the temptation to continue Tag's adventures, never mind the crucial abridgement of Road's latter half.

the Gabriel King books somehow manage to take Mr Harrison's skill with language, his sharp eye for metaphor and detail and his own understanding of nature both human and otherwise and employ them in something (for M. John Harrison) surprisingly straightforward: pure, unadulterated storytelling.

just one of the many reasons i can't wait to get back home.

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