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April 29, 2013 at 12:39 PM

On Capitol Hill: Sjon, the Icelandic writer, and Henri, the existential cat

henriThis week in Seattle, amidst the thicket of readings, appearances and lectures going on around town, I was struck by the ineffable singularity of these two offerings:

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Seattle’s  Richard Hugo House hosts the Icelandic writer Sjon. I guess Icelandic writers, like singers (Bjork) go for one-word names. At 7 p. m. Sjon will discuss writing with Seattle writer Ryan Boudinot.

Sjon’s three books have just been published in this country by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. They  include  “The Whispering Muse,” “From the Mouth of the Whale,” and  “The Blue Fox.” A  Seattle band,  The Redwood Plan, will play – they collaborated with Sjon a couple of years ago on a song.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday  at the Elliott Bay Book Co., William Barden, the authorized representative of Henri the Cat, will discuss Henri’s new book, “Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat.”

I have sworn never to write about a book with cat pictures in it, but Henri has brought me to his knees. His world-weary attitude.  His scorn for the white cat he has to live with (otherwise known as “the white imbecile”).  His mind games with his owner – they remind me so much of my own cat, also named Henry.

To wit:

“I rarely purr. Why signal that I am content?” asks Henri. “I want you to believe that I cannot be mollified, so you continue your attempts to appease me.”

“I sleep because every time I open my eyes, the world is still there.”

I should add that Henri is  a You Tube sensation.

“Sadly, Henri the cat himself has declined our invitation to appear, citing naptime conflicts and a general aversion to hanging out with people.,” said an Elliott Bay representative.

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