Another Insane Devotion
Da Capo Press, November 2012
Paul Leyhausen calls cats’ ‘gifts’ of dead mice and birds as treating their owners like deputy kittens—as if they think we are pathetic creatures who can’t take care of ourselves and need to be taught to hunt. What we want to believe, though, when we find a mouse half-alive by our bed, is that our animal not only loves us, but is grateful for all we do.
“A corollary is that in love, the beloved is the reason for doing something rather than that action’s afterword or appendix,” Peter Trachtenberg writes in Another Insane Devotion, his latest book of nonfiction. Trachtenberg then imagines a scenario where his cat Biscuit gives him a chipmunk with the thought, “This is something he will like or use.”
Trachtenberg attempts to broach the impossible—longing, the existence of reciprocal love, the defining and ending of a marriage—with the narrative frame of Biscuit’s disappearance, while he is away teaching and his wife is abroad.