‘Trees are the arbiters of time, gathering up the hours and days and years, keeping them in their circular rings.’ So we are told in this lyrical and poetic journey through the bayou which interweaves an animal tale with nature to create an entrancing, ecological fairytale. The story takes cat and kittens and their friend, an old hound, and throws them apart and into turmoil. There is also the miserable hunter Gar Face, who could use the kittens for alligator bait. He’s indicative of the book’s uniquely harsh understanding of survival. For these creatures life is a challenge, but one that is worked out in the context of words and places of haunting beauty. Mythical characters cross the story’s path and at times it becomes complicated, but it is helped by ‘Subtle Knife’ like motifs that let the reader know where they are navigating.
This story is something of a journey, and there were times when I wanted it to speed up a bit. However, these were alleviated by some truly heart stopping moments that kept me hooked.