There is nothing lonelier than a cat who has been loved, at least for a while, and then abandoned on the side of the road.
A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the Underneath...as long as they stay in the Underneath.
Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten’s one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning. For everyone who loves Sounder, Shiloh, and The Yearling, for everyone who loves the haunting beauty of writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Flannery O’Connor, and Carson McCullers, Kathi Appelt spins a harrowing yet keenly sweet tale about the power of love—and its opposite, hate—the fragility of happiness and the importance of making good on your promises.
On the page, Appelt's first novel, about abused animals and set in a Deep South swamp, reads like it might be spoken with a pronounced twang. Zackman's interpretation, however, is so mellifluous that it sounds like a lullaby. That smooth delivery strikes a discordant note with the material, a story that braids three dark narrative strands: the vodka-swilling Gar Face's battle with the 100-foot-long Alligator King; Gar Face's abused, chained hound dog's ill-fated shepherding of a mother cat and her kittens; and the thousand-year imprisonment of Grandmother Moccasin, a serpent so selfish she resents her daughter falling in love. The even-keel delivery also makes it hard to keep track as the story shifts among the myriad points of view, which include those of the villain, a family of shape-shifters, various animals and sentient trees. Appelt's stylistic choice to use repetition as a construct "This cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate..." makes for a monotonous audio experience, and her use of words such as "goldy" (to describe sunshine) makes this disquieting book sound precious. Ages 9 12. Simultaneous release with the S&S/Atheneum hardcover.
BEST BOOK EVER!
I read books all the time and most way longer but this is the best book I have ever read! Five stars for sure! I can’t think of one bad thing about it! The chapters are short like as little as 2 pages, but to me that’s a good thing because it makes you want to read it more and see what’s in the next chapter! BEST BOOK EVER! It doesn’t have many pictures but I don’t care because I don’t like the pictures, I like to picture it in my mind.
This is now my favorite book, but I got lost on how they went from one story to another, and at the end I saw how they connected. I recommended it to a friend and she is in the process of reading it right now, and she loves it! This is a great book for some one who loves a heart warming adventure!
This book is absolutely amazing. When I first read this book, I couldn't stop thinking about it. The whole plot is magical and mysterious, very magnificent. And when I finished the book, it was all I thought about. I took me two weeks to finally stop thinking about the book, but it'll always have a place in my heart. Whenever someone asks for a recommendation of a fantastic book, the first title I name is "The Underneath".