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Book Report: Plain Kate


Your Humble Blogger picked up Erin Bow’s Plain Kate on a whim, despite the blurb promising a talking cat. There are good books with talking cats, although, well. Talking cat. Not a good sign.

It’s not a talking cat book, fortunately. It’s a magnificently creepy story about gypsies in Russia, although of course it’s pseudo-Russia and pseudo-Gypsies. Roamers, she calls them. Sometimes I find that irritating, but I didn’t in this book, for some reason. Anyway, the main character is wonderful, fierce, intelligent (but not implausibly so), flawed and lovable. And, cleverly, an outsider both in her village and with the Roamers. And she doesn’t have unexpected magic powers. You have no idea what a relief that is, unless you read as much YASF as I do, in which case, you probably do. But there is magic, wicked and good magic, both of which are scary. And there is art, and commerce, and food, and culture, and really good writing.

And a talking cat. But it’s cool. Really.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.