What We Learn From Cats
Lo que aprendemos de los gatos
Human beings –thinks the cat– have an inevitable tendency to see things backwards. For example, if they see a book entitled What we can learn from cats, they will probably think that it is about what human beings can learn about cats, perhaps a book to help to get to know them better (something which, as we are discussing the subject, would be useful). However, for anyone able to think clearly, it is obvious that What we can learn from cats is about something else: namely, what humans can learn from cats, that is, what cats can teach us.These kinds of errors happen because humans begin with the absurd premise that they are superior animals, when everyone knows that the superior beings are, in fact, cats. Cats–according to the author of this book– have a lot to teach us, but to do that we need to be ready to learn. They are affectionate, but never submissive, showing us how to negotiate our cohabitation everyday. They trust us, only if we earn their confidence little by little, displaying the virtue of patience. Domesticated yet independent, like wild beasts that have acclimatized to our habitats. We see them as defenseless, but in reality they are much better at survival than we are. Underneath their silky skin they hide sharp claws and an enviably athletic physique. And, when we watch them at play, displaying their magnificent physical shape, or sleeping peacefully upon our favourite armchair (yes, that armchair that cats never let us use) we envy their capacity to live every moment intensely, without torment, as we used to do in a past that no longer exists, or a future that may never arrive. A book that is a pleasure for any reader, and, of course, absolutely essential for cat lovers.
«This book is destined to captivate cat lovers and convert many who aren´t… The best thing is its capacity for observation, tenderness and an awareness that pain and death can create such a rich and febrile narration. There is an enormous tenderness here… A delicate jewel» (J. A. Masoliver Ródenas, La Vanguardia).
«A very special book in which the author tells us how cats have domesticated human beings and in the process made us closer to them… If "a dog is a man´s best friend, man is the cat´s best friend”, says Paloma Díaz-Mas in this delicious and charming book» (Iñaki Ezquerra, El Correo Español).
«A delightful book… Diaz-Mas is a remarkable writer. Reading her has always been a pleasure… I have never read anything more beautiful about cat’s nature» (Adolfo García Ortega, El Norte de Castilla).
«Of course, dog lovers would also enjoy reading this book, and those who are in love with gorillas would too, in fact, even those who hate animals, because the book is like a spell that transforms the cat into a kind of guru who opens up our perception towards what the eye can not see» (Carlos Sala, La Razón).
«A beautiful semblance of these mysterious, wild, thoughtful and quite creatures (…) Díaz-Mas has brought back the importance of cats with a conscientious, touching and honest writing that goes on with calm and joy, addressed to cat lovers but also constantly winking to those who we are not, yet» (Jimy Ruiz Vega, El Fescambre).
«An essential book for cat lovers» (Marta Sanz, El Cultural).
«Everyone who thinks that this book is only for cat owners is wrong; because with Paloma Díaz-Mas is inconceivable to read without conceptual wealth and elegance of expression in what she writes. Hence this book is for all who love literature» (Leer).
«A unique book that not only speaks about the feline world, but also it is a reflection about a human illness (the human reason) and at the same time speaks about remembrance and resignation of losing our loved ones that mark our lives» (Cayetano Sánchez, Canarias 7).
«Brief, odd and delightful book» (Matías Néspolo, El Mundo).
«An authentic essay about this strange animal and his world, about felines and their owners, and about our mistaken relationship with them» (Pedro M. Domene, ¡Zas!Madrid).
Paloma Díaz-Mas (Madrid, 1954) is a research professor at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and was for eighteen years professor of literature at the University of the País Vasco. She has published studies of oral and Romance literature, Medieval Spanish literatureand Sephardi culture. At the age of only nineteen she published her first book of short stories (recently re-published as an E-book under the title Ilustres desconocidos). At Anagrama she haspublished the novels El rapto del Santo Grial (runner-up for the 1st Premio Herralde de Novela 1983), El sueño de Venecia (Premio Herralde de Novela 1992) and La tierra fértil (Premio Euskadi 2000 and runner-up for the Premio de la Crítica); the book of stories Nuestro milenio (1987), the autobiographical tales Una ciudad llamada Eugenio (1992) and Como un libro cerrado (2005). She also worked on two collections of stories edited by Laura Freixas, Madres e hijas (2002) and Cuentos de amigas (2009).