Saturday, March 3, 2018

Book Review: 'Avalon' by Vanessa Morgan

Author/screenwriter Vanessa Morgan lives in Belgium and is best known for her terrifying mysteries - some of which have become movies - but she is also a very sensitive writer about animals, and cats in particular (witness, NEXT TO HER). In this story we receive more than a novel. This is a memoir, and more. For anyone who has had a pet or pets as integral parts of their lives Vanessa's story will be particularly meaningful. But somehow because of her writing skills she make s this a story more encompassing than a person/pet tale. This is an expression of love, well spelled.

AVALON is a true story - the relationship and interdependency between Vanessa and her neurotic Turkish Van cat Avalon. Briefly and from the author, the story warmly details `how Avalon made other creatures cringe in distress whenever he was around, how he threw her dates out by means of special techniques, and how he rendered it almost impossible for her to leave the house. Avalon was so incorrigible that even her landlord ordered her to get rid of him. But beneath Avalon's demonic boisterousness, Vanessa recognized her own flaws and insecurities, and she understood that abandoning Avalon would be the worst she could do to him. Thanks to her unswerving loyalty, Avalon transformed into a tender feline, and even landed a major role in a horror movie. In turn, Avalon made it his mission to be there for his human companion.'

Rich in humor and crazy side stories, Vanessa waxes philosophical toward book's end: `When we adopt a pet in our twenties, we don't have a clear concept of death. We know pets will abandon us someday, but what is "someday"? Fifteen or twenty years? That equals a lifetime for a twenty-year old. And so we love with full abandon because we expect our pet will last a lifetime. And when life doesn't turn out as planned, we love the pet even more because it's all we have. It becomes our map and globe, our route and compass. We become each other's world. By writing Avalon's memoir, I have come up against a wall many times. It was particularly hard to talk about my past and my failures. I wish I could have been much stronger and more of a leading lady, but I had to be honest about my pains to explain why Avalon and I were so attached to one another. Only when I talked about myself in direct conjunction with Avalon, was I able to feel a certain acceptance. Of course, that was because the only times I found myself likeable was when I saw myself through Avalon's eyes.'

Entertaining and heartwarming, Avalon and Vanessa's relationship makes for a fine read. Grady Harp, June 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

No comments:

Post a Comment