Archive | 5:33 am

Of cats, a hero’s quest and temporal paradoxes

6 Aug

A young girl with an idyllic life, no school, a loving aunt and lots of freedom. A story that feels epic and reads well. Beautiful illustrations. These are a few of the things I liked about The Cats of Tanglewood Forest  by Charles de Lint.


Lillian Kindred is a sweet-natured girl who is kind to animals and receives kindness from animals when she is bitten by a snake and on the verge of death. She is turned into a cat and embarks on a journey to become a girl again.

But there was one thing that irritated me, and no, it wasn’t the cats that irritated this dog person.


In an episode of Star Trek: Voyager ( Future’s End, 1996) Captain Janeway says “Time travel. Since my first day on the job as a Starfleet captain I swore I’d never let myself get caught in one of these godforsaken paradoxes – the future is the past, the past is the future, it all gives me a headache.” And that’s what bothered me about this story. One of the mythic characters in The Cats of Tanglewood Forest alters time and it gave me a headache. It seems an easy out after all that  Lillian has to go through. 

Having gotten that off my chest, I think a lot of kids will like this book. It feels like an old tale and has just the right blend of suffering and redemption. I was satisfied with how things ended up, even though I didn’t like all the ways De Lint got us there.

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