Tag Archives: Algeria

The Cat’s Meow

By Symi Rom-Rymer

While perusing the bookshelves at Barnes and Nobel yesterday, I came across a wonderful graphic novel entitled The Rabbi’s Cat by the French author, Joann Sfar, best known in the US for his children’s series, The Little VampireThe Rabbi’s Cat tells the story of a Rabbi, his daughter Zlabya, and their talking cat who live in Algiers in the 1930s when Algeria was still part of France.  Narrated by the cat, who is studying to become Bar Mitzvah, the intricate illustrations and the gentle, yet poignant story line draws readers into a seemingly simple world that soon reveals itself in all its complexities.  Situated on the line between perfect and flawed, wise and bumbling, sacred and profane, Sfar’s characters made me nostalgic for a time and place that exists only within his, and now my, imagination.  But the themes that he draws upon— internal religious struggle, familial bonds, and humanness—are very real and very contemporary. Continue reading