Black Cat
Black Cat
Black Cat


A Novel

by Pierre Merot Translated from French by Frank Wynne

“A highly amusing book… Merot is a master of mockery.” –San Diego Union Tribune

  • Imprint Black Cat
  • Page Count 208
  • Publication Date May 25, 2006
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-7019-4
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $13.00

About The Book

Love. Solitude. Alcohol. Family. Unemployment. Mammals tells the story of “the uncle,” a sarcastic, middle-aged Parisian bachelor and drunk. He fails desultorily in several professions–a new media company during the boom, a defense ministry museum run by a lecherous ex-quartermaster–and winds up a teacher in a secondary school, surrounded by neurotic women. He tries out therapist after therapist and doesn’t get the joke. He has many reasons to be anxious, family life most of all–especially now that he’s living at home again. He coins proverbs for living for living with lowered expectations and observes the habits of his pathological parents, the mammals of the title. Piecing together a portrait of a modern Everyman, Mammals is a caustic, comic, unflinching bestiary of modern banality.

Tags Literary


“A highly amusing book… Merot is a master of mockery.” –San Diego Union Tribune

“Devouring his slim book as quickly as possible is a reader’s only recourse… Masterful storytelling… Merot knows how to play with generalities’and how to casually invite readers into a joke… He effortlessly twists phrases to make them zing…and leaps nimbly from vignette to vignette, pulling the reader along with him. Mammals understands how to be all serious and all joke, at one and the same time.” –Christine Smallwood, The Nation

“Merot flips a hilarious, bittersweet finger at the values of his over-privileged society. Family, work, love–he spares nothing.” –Neal Pollack, author of Never Mind the Pollacks

“Made me laugh and cry simultaneously, which made my face look very strange, but my brain, my soul, and my heart very happy. Merot is one of the most important novelists of our country.” –Frederic Beigbeder, author of Windows on the World

Mammals is bitter and hilarious, with a razor-sharp sense of the absurd and containing a wonderful, skewed poetry. Partly it’s a Tom Waitsian barroom ballad, a hymn to heartbreak, and partly it’s a Celineseque farce centered on the ludicrous exigencies and expectations of human life. Wiser than Houllebecq, more knowledgeable than Noe, it possesses a quality those two artists lack: namely a huge, colorful, utterly alluring sense of humor.” –Niall Griffiths, author of Stump

“What is a groundbreaking novel? An inventive book that page after page jolts the reader with its wit, pathos, and profound understanding of the difficulties of contemporary life. In short, it is Pierre M”rot’s very fine Mammals.” –Aaron Hamburger, author of Faith for Beginners and The View from Stalin’s Head

Mammals is a sleek, nasty, and highly intelligent creature. Pierre M”rot is a funny, soulful novelist with a refreshingly jaunty take on human misery.” –Sam Lipsyte, author of Home Land

“Darkly comic.” –Etelka Lehoczky, The New York Times

“His character sketches illustrate the posturing of the clowns we’ve all encountered in our own lives with such precision that the narrator’s bitter rants are frequently hilarious.” –McNally Robinson Staff Picks

“Funny, mischievous, serendipitous, and so perfectly written. In a word, brilliant.” –Le Figaro

“[Merot] is a masterful writer with nuances and shades that transform each line and paragraph. . . . An irreverent portrait of our bloodless, sterile times . . . [written with] vigorous and twisted poetry.” –O Estado (Brazil)

“An intelligent, desperate, ironic book. And one full of alcohol . . . Pierre Merot spares nothing and nobody. . . . Bacchus is in him.” –Il Giornale (Italy)

“An audacious burlesque . . . Merot is a fine writer, brilliant, witty and with an unusual sense of mercy for the least fortunate in the urban fauna. . . . Mammals is an exceptional novel, of many bars, much bar-crawling, many long nights, insatiably thirsty drunks and lives gone off the rails.” –ABC (Spain)

“Fasten your seat belts. This will blow you away.” –Lire (France)