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A Cat, a Hat, and a Piece of String Paperback – 16 Jan 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (16 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552778796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552778794
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre projects as well as developing an original drama for television.
In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.
Her hobbies are listed in Who's Who as 'mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion'. She also spends too much time on Twitter; plays flute and bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16; and works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire.


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Product Description

Review

"A vibrant tombola of stories...each a commute-friendly 20-or-so pages long." (Time Out)

"An excellent mix of stories - some dark and mysterious, others heart-warming and thought-provoking." (Good Housekeeping (Reader Recommended))

"Harris is an intriguing writer, so this is worth a punt, if only to savour the seasonal horror of the story about a house where it's Christmas all year round." (The Lady)

"Strongly plotted and written in registers that are variously comical, sad and surreal...Best of all is 'Cookie', where delicious gluttony - Harris's forte - gathers a sharp note of menace." (Independent)

"Harris inhabits a world where fantasy and reality collide in a most inventive way to produce a series of delightful, bittersweet yarns." (Bella)

Book Description

A brilliant new collection of short stories from Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and Peaches for Monsieur le Cure.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Susie B TOP 50 REVIEWER on 7 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Joanne Harris' latest book, the enticingly named 'A Cat, A Hat and a Piece of String' is a wonderful collection of her short stories and a book which demonstrates, yet again, the author's talent as a teller of imaginatively superior tales.

There is an interesting introduction to this collection, where Joanne Harris explains how she chose her title and, in addition to the main introduction, Harris also includes a short intro to each story - the first of which starts with "Stories are like Russian dolls: open them up and in each one you'll find another story" which leads us nicely into: 'River Song'. This story is the absorbing coming of age tale of Ngok and Catfish and Catfish's gang, which is set in Brazzaville, in the Congo. When Ngok is in danger of being excluded from the gang of children who earn their living by jumping into the river and riding the rapids for the entertainment of tourists, she decides to challenge Catfish by persuading him to take part in a very perilous bet with the proviso that if she wins, she stays in the gang. When Catfish takes up the challenge and ends up in very real danger, does Ngok opt to help him, or does she decide to take the glory for herself?

In the heart-warming tale 'Faith and Hope Fly South' we meet two lovely, elderly ladies living in a rest home, who are trying to cope with the indignities of old age when they still feel young at heart. When they are punished for a misdemeanor (escaping from the home and taking a trip to London) by being left out of a coach outing to Blackpool, our ladies try bravely not to show how upset they are; but then something happens which changes their day alone at the home entirely.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lola TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I've never read anything by Joanne Harris before and I am a very picky person when it comes to short stories. So, I picked this from my local library and finished it within a few days (savouring the book). After I finished this wonderful collection I must say: Ms Harris knows how to tell a good story! Yes, some stories are better than the others, some are inspiring and some you read and forget almost immediately. BUT what kinda blew me away is the author's ability to talk in so many voices - the stories are so different I found it hard to believe they were written by the same person. The atmosphere, the topics, the language, the narrative - I thought it is a rare skill to have this ability (and imagination) to enable one person to literally speak with such different voices. Joanne Harris is some sort of ventriloquist! She has all this different characters and yet it is her, a single author, who speaks for them.

"Faith and Hope Fly South", "Cookie", "Muse" and "Dee Eye Why" particularly grabbed my attention. And "Would You Like to Reconnect" put me into a thoughtful mood.

P.S. I was just searching Google for a table of contents of "A Cat, a Hat, and a Piece of String" to mention names of the stories that I liked the most, and what do you know, Google has actually have some of the stories from this book available for all to read through their Google books project! Check it out :)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lucia C. Bibolini on 5 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Each one of these short stories is a precious gem: stunning prose, enchanting characterisation, imaginative plots. I normally prefer to read a full length novel rather than short stories, but I am thoroughly enjoying A Cat, a Hat, and a Piece of String.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By susan lofthouse on 19 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a collection of short stories, varied and thought-provoking. The range of subjects is surprising, for example there is a story about children riding the rapids in a river in Africa, another about a man obsessed with the restoration and history of an old house to the exclusion of all else.
Each one is digestible and satisfying in one sitting.
I would recommend this book highly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Elizabeth A. Shepherd on 10 Jun. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
OK, so a book of short stories could be picked up for one story and put down at the end of the story. No chance. I love Joanne Harris' writing and this was particularly rewarding. And two stories about Faith and Hope was a treat, particularly as they provide wonderful role models for coping with the world in old age, and the way the world treats the elderly. Keep up the good work Joanne.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs Ferret on 1 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is no doubt that Joanne Harris is a class act & this wonderful book of short stories just proves my point. Her skill in storytelling is rare & beautiful.

The stories are quite varied so choosing a favourite is hard but I have to say that I particularly liked Faith & Hope, 2 old ladies with spirit & character.

A great book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Quick on 28 Nov. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Joanne Harris does not disappoint as usual. Excellent variety of stories, all in Harris' inimitable style. Cannot recommend highly enough.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Llannie on 3 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good well penned set of short stories, that are neatly linked together. It's an easy, nice summer holiday read.
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