Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Cat's Pajamas by Ray Bradbury ****



The Cat's Pajamas by Ray Bradbury is a short story collection with a mixture of stories from the post-WWII decade mixed with stories from the first years of the 21st century. In his introduction, Bradbury discusses his short stories as metaphors. The core of each story is a metaphor. For example, The House (1947) compares marriage with a home improvement project.
“All married life you build – build egos, build houses, build children.”
Hail to the Chief (2003-04) imagines a dozen U.S. Senators gambling away the United States at an Indian casino.

The Cat’s Pajama’s (2003) is a love story in the style of O’Henry about two strangers who meet when they both try to rescue the same cat.

Sixty-Six (2003) is a story of cultural appropriation.

All My Enemies are Dead (2003) and The Completist (2003-04) are also surprise endings in the style of O’Henry. The first about friendship and growing old, and the other about parenting and growing old.

Most of the older stories hold up well, though We’ll Just Act Natural (1948-49) dates itself with the inclusion of phoning time ’to check if the clock is correct. I found the newer stories more engaging.

The twenty short stories vary between surprise endings reminiscent of O’Henry and enigmatic ones reminiscent of The Tiger, or The Lady? An enjoyable read in all cases.