Soothing Music for Stray Cats
Jayne Joso Other books by Jayne Joso
Mark's best friend Jim just jumped from the twentieth floor, forcing him to reassess the way he's been living. This contemporary rites of passage novel is a calm, cool, and well-controlled fiction debut flooded with warmth and humanity. With the reflection of "The Catcher in the Rye" and the depth of Anne Enright's "The Gathering", it captures the moment following disaster where things can swing either way. Music and literature save Mark as he faces the question: is it ever right to intervene in others' lives? Themes include friendship; class; compassion; altruism and intervention; trust and innocence; belonging. Soothing Music for Stray Cats is a reflective novel set in central and north London, which will appeal to a youthful male readership and NME fans, with its themes of male suicide, Samurai philosophy, male bonding, and songwriting. Driven by its distinctive colloquial voice, wacky monologues on subjects as diverse as Mike Skinner, Ellen MacArthur and Nelson, its philosophy is upbeat, committed to a world in which strangers still help each other, even though we can seldom intervene when it really matters. "Catcher in the Rye" meets Kenzaburo Oe's "An Echo of Heaven", by way of Anne Enright's "The Gathering", the text is framed by two suicides, but the messages are positive, in favour of altruism, male friendship, and the camaraderie of strangers in straightened circumstances (the latter a topical theme for the Credit Crunch era). Set in a chilly February in Finsbury Park and central London with its tourist landmarks, the author's background as an architecture journalist shows through in her strong sense of atmosphere and city spaces. Literary aspects include the shadowing of Woolf's "Mrs Dalloway", and beautiful imagery ranging from cricket, London Tube lines, failing shoes on city streets, naval heroes and monuments.
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"Jayne Joso's novel skilfully melds the esoteric and the everyday, the surreal and the banal, to create a strangely gripping narrative full of dark humour. Soothing Music for Stray Cats marks the debut of a distinctive voice in contemporary British fiction.
" - Joe Moran
"An unexpected and moving story about the redemption of misfits and the consolation of strangers.
" - Natalie Haynes
"...may emerge as one of the great, eccentric London novels.
" - Ian Thomson, TLS.