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A Cat, a Hat, and a Piece of String [Paperback]

Joanne Harris
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Jan 2014

Stories are like Russian dolls; open them up, and in each one you'll find another story.

Come to the house where it is Christmas all year round; meet the ghost who lives on a Twitter timeline; be spooked by a newborn baby created with sugar, spice and lashings of cake.

Conjured from a wickedly imaginative pen, here is a new collection of short stories that showcases Joanne Harris's exceptional talent as a teller of tales, a spinner of yarns. Sensuous, mischievous, uproarious and wry, here are tales that combine the everyday with the unexpected; wild fantasy with bittersweet reality.

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A Cat, a Hat, and a Piece of String + Peaches for Monsieur le Curé (Chocolat 3) + Runelight
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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: 19.8 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,417 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joanne Harris is the author of the Whitbread-shortlisted Chocolat (made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp) and many other bestselling novels. Her hobbies are listed in Who's Who as 'mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion'. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16, is currently studying Old Norse, and lives with her husband and daughter in Yorkshire, about 15 miles from the place she was born

Photography © Takazumi Uemura

Product Description


"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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good set of tales 3 Aug 2013
By Llannie
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit like the Curate's Egg 25 Jan 2013
By Ann1953
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
i.e. "Good in parts." Some of the stories are better than others. Recommend for people who like short stories. I liked the ones that were set in an old people's home. Not so keen on the "gods" ones. Overall, glad I bought it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannot be bettered 25 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Anyone who knows Joanne Harris' work will be surprised and delighted at this collection of short stories. Unlike her other books which cannot be put down once you have started, this can be dipped into, read, chewed over and left for another time without loosing the thread.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent as always 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sue 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab short stories with interesting twists 20 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Some of these stories are beautiful and approach the world with a beautiful compassionate vision of people. Hope and Faith are particularly wonderful!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love
Another beautifully written book by Joanne Harris. I have read everything published by this wonderful lady, and feel heartbroken at the end of every book. Love it!
Published 12 days ago by Holly
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing read
I am a big fan of Joanne Harris and was really looking forward to reading the book. I do not think short stories suits her style of writing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by anne hilton
5.0 out of 5 stars I like Joanne Harris
Again a wonderful book of short stories. Janne Harris is so very good at this difficult style of writing. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Apples
5.0 out of 5 stars Always a pleasure
I have always loved the underlying magic in Joanne Harris books. This collection of short stories does not disappoint. Read more
Published 1 month ago by laura jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Not compulsive
I have read most of Joanna harris's books. Enjoyed most. This is a little off the wall for me. But I did not abandon it.
Published 2 months ago by Kate Meere
5.0 out of 5 stars Joanne Harris
Love Joanne Harris, especially, Chocolate, Lollipop shoes trilogy. This collection is great with a variety of genre! Love Faith and Hope stories
Published 3 months ago by Jinty's Shelf
4.0 out of 5 stars Cat hat string
Good book, some amazing stories and some, well, felt half-hearted. Loved the hope and faith tales, the level x was chilling and well thought out, the mad actor story really got me... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Mrs M M Frank
5.0 out of 5 stars Tales from the Mistress of the Word
As always excellent writing just so easy to read - flows along and carries you with it. I enjoyed Jigs & Reels and am enjoying this especially as I can see the thread running... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lizzy T Bag
2.0 out of 5 stars short stories
Only one or two decent stories. the rest are something and nothing. Not up to Joanne Harris standards at all
Published 10 months ago by Miss Jacqueline A Sinclair
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely story
This book is easy to read. It is a good purchase for holiday. I enjoyed and would recommand others too.
Published 10 months ago by Elena Uzkikh
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