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Honey, I Killed The Cats

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By Dorota Masłowska

Translated by Benjamin Paloff

An incomparably hilarious satire of modern consumer culture, with everything from personality to religion commodified, like Virginie Despentes meets Blade Runner.

Published: September 10, 2019

Paperback: 9781941920824

eBook: 9781941920848

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Description

From bestselling, internationally acclaimed author Dorota Masłowska comes a hilarious and devastating satire of consumer culture. Set in a bizarro, all-too-real imaginarium of American pop culture, Honey, I Killed the Cats introduces us to two independent young women struggling to live the lives that television and glossy magazines have promised them. In a collision of street slang and mass-media sloganeering, Masłowska’s electrifying prose drives a propulsive story about spiritual longing in a dispirited world.

Masłowska’s novel examines the ways we attempt to exist and find meaning in lives defined by what we buy. In this warped world saturated by advertising and materialism, where everything can be bought, from personality and physical traits to religion and self-fulfillment, Joanne and Farah, two very different women form a friendship both bonded in and ultimately destroyed by the manipulations of consumer culture.

Joanne has everything the commercials say you should want—confidence, a carefree life, happiness to excess. Farah is a self-loathing, envious, germophobic malcontent. Through a shared metaphysical dream experience that spills over into their increasingly troubled day-to-day lives, these best friends find themselves consumed by their equal-and-opposite obsessions.

Widely regarded as Polish literary sensation Masłowska’s best novel yet, Honey, I Killed the Cats is a powerfully emotional, hilariously grotesque satire of Western consumer culture and the trends that go along with it.

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Paperback, eBook

Reviews of Snow White & Russian Red

“Dorota Masłowska possesses a fundamental virtue: beyond any other virtues or vices of authorial craft, she knows how to tell a story. Her metaphors, her comparisons, they way she tells a story, all of it sparks amazement, then amusement, and not infrequently the impression of genuine poetry. This mixing of everything with everything is the source of her charm.” — Sławomir Mrożek

“An astute observation of the superficiality of a society driven by marketing and commerce.” — Janus R. Kowalczyk, Culture

“This very young woman has in her an unheard-of literary maturity. . . . The youngest generation, a generation completely lost to the oblivion of drugs, the Internet, and predatory Polish capitalism, this completely lost generation is in luck because it has produced an author who will redeem it.” — Jerzy Pilch, Polityka (Poland)

“By revealing an extraordinary sense of observation the young author provides the reader with a cynical vision of the world in which we live in… Witty and humorous narration uncovers the sad truth about contemporary life: filled with paradoxes, hypocrisy and loneliness.” — Agnes-Books

“European critics have compared [Snow White and Russian Red] to novels like Naked Lunch and movies like Trainspotting. Celine and Kosinski also come to mind, as does Gombrowicz’s Ferdydurke, which is equally a particle accelerator and a violent dance, plus, of course . . . Stanislaw Lem and Czeslaw Milosz. . . . But I’d say the closest American equivalent is, at its best, Ginsberg’s “Howl,” and at its worst, Less than Zero.” — John Leonard, Harper’s

‘Maslowska plays the political posturing and xenophobia as black comedy. . . . The language, in Benjamin Paloff’s translation, is exhilarating–idiosyncratic like a folk idiom, like a burnout’s private conversation with himself. . . . Feminist in the most inclusive sense, nihilistic in the most life-affirming, this generation “we” yearns for a pink, laughing God, scrawls ‘satan” where the grown-ups can see, and dodges the world’s border wars by going underground. . . . Potent.” — Ryan Brooks, Chicago Reader

“Energetic, ferocious, and powerful, a hellacious literary accomplishment. Even having read it, it’s hard to believe how well it all works. . . Satisfying as a psychological novel of obsessions, as a millennial cultural commentary, as a rough-and-ready street tale, and as a terrifyingly ambitious concept piece, a book that puts everything on the line to prove a point, and proves it, and takes it further still. . . . Snow White is a scorching read. This is big-league literature. . . . He has the wild, witty fatalism of Venedikt Yerofeev’s Moscow to the End of the Line and the loopy idiolect of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, but Nails is most of all a sparkling scion of grandmaster Witold Gombrowicz’s Trans-Atlantyk.” — Damien Weaver,Bookslut

“Serves up its nastiness spiked with pitch-black humor. . . . Paloff’s translation is pitch-perfectly speedy, and with political ironies resounding throughout, it’s clear that Maslowska is not exactly endorsing her blank generation, though the claustrophobic narrative presents few avenues of escape.” — Publishers Weekly, on Snow White and Russian Red

“Maslowska’s prose squeals with directionless drive, whizzing like a drug-induced sensory overload: disjointed, formless, unleashed. . . . It tires and invigorates. It also introduces an otherworld of lasting, unusual imagery. . . . Snow White and Russian Red scans like Kerouac’s Dharma Bums, an anarchic reaction to a generation of socially enforced post-war patriotism and merriness. . . . Maslowska seems the newest addition to a legacy of furtively unfettered Eastern European genius. . . . She’s brave and faithful enough to raise her voice against her troubled homeland in dissent.” — Kris Wilton, Village Voice

“So corrosive, so extreme in its nightmarish subjectivity, as to be almost reader-proof–it feels like something William S. Burroughs might have written after getting up on the wrong side of the bed. . . . The 21-year-old author has already patented her own blend of brutality and poetic insight. And although comedy is most often what gets lost in translation, Benjamin Paloff seems to have done right by Maslowska: the book is often very funny.” — James Marcus, Los Angeles Times

“[Snow White and Russian Red] was published in 2002 by a small, independent publishing house and deservedly made its author, nineteen-year-old Dorota Masłowska, a huge success, despite the badly depressed book market in Poland. Just like Irish writers like Flann O’ Brian and Brendan Behan wrote in a colorful Dublin vernacular rarely actually met in Dublin, so too has Masłowska created a literary language which is both uniquely hers and immediately familiar.” — Robert Looby, Slavic and East European Journal

“Angry, expletive-packed, wildly energetic . . . It’s a grim-gruff gumbo of Lukas Moodyson’s Lilya-4-Ever, Brett Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero, and the films of Gaspar Noe. . . .The talented Maslowska keeps a soaring pace and, with abundant trademark mordant Polish humour, has crafter a novel that speaks of the “other” contemporary Warsaw as Hubert Selby Jr.’s Last Exit to Brooklyn spoke of NY in the ’50s. Brilliant!” — UNCUT (UK)

“A cocky, confident, struttingly precocious new voice. White and Red is a Less Than Zerowith intelligence, emotion and wit. Whatever they’re putting in the water in Poland, I wish they’d pipe some of it over here. Fast.” — Niall Griffiths, author of Stump

“No established writer could have written this book because established writers lack what this writer has–her language . . . fast, heavily abbreviated, full of color, bursting with idiosyncrasy. . . . Similarities are immediately apparent to the films Being John Malkovich and Trainspotting, but also to Kafka, Gombrowicz, and Gaddis.” — Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Germany)

“Maslowska, with extraordinary literary sensitivity, catches the language of society’s underbelly. . . . [Snow White and Russian Red] is a book that is simultaneously realistic and hyperrealistic. Prose that tastes like the poetry of a dirty street and filthy projects.” — Wojciech Staszewski, Gazeta Wyborna (Poland)

“A melange of Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Burroughs’s Naked Lunch and Döblin’s Alexanderplatz.” — Buchreport (Germany)

“Dorota Maslowska’s novel is the crater left by a gunshot, flexing feral words and rupturing its subject. . . . Confronted with so much power and intensity one cannot but surrender.” — Lifestyle (Germany)

Reviews

“Masłowska’s latest is a sucrose-loaded simulacrum for the American monoculture, recklessly scrambling barbed sarcasm with irreverent sight gags to stupendous effect. A knives-out dissection of aesthetic vulgarity that refuses to be calmed, corralled, or otherwise contained. Honey, I Killed the Cats is delightfully demented fun.” — Justin Walls, Powell’s Books at Cedar Hill Crossing

“A wild, technicolor send up of culture and consumerism.” — Caitlin Luce Baker, Island Books

“A grossly all-too-accurate satire of American consumer culture and those frantically swiping their plastic (in hopes of some kind of meaning) inside of it. Hilarious and biting. A scream.” — Traci Thiebaud, Brazos Bookstore

“Slim and ferocious, Masłowska’s novel is a wild trip from beginning to end.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“So absurdly extended—and so deranged in its detail—that it’s genuinely funny.” — Kirkus Reviews

“She is the hope of Polish literature.” — Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung