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The Rabbi's Cat 2    by Joann Sfar Amazon.com order for
Rabbi's Cat 2
by Joann Sfar
Order:  USA  Can
Pantheon, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover
* * *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

After the success of Sfar's Rabbi's Cat (which won the prestigious Jury Prize), the eccentric and entertaining gray cat returns to his usual antics and journeys, while a strong, educating, and meaningful story surrounds him. The Rabbi's Cat 2 continues on, and increases the humor and fun, but also the fascinating story of this strange cat in 1930s North Africa.

In the first story of The Rabbi's Cat 2, while the rabbi is away on his own journey, his cat takes a trip with Malka of the Lions (who some believe to be the pious Jew, others a disliked womanizer). The cat meets a talking snake which seems little more than an annoying character. But in a region filled with biblical history, the symbolism and possible subtext intended by the presence of this animal is undeniable.

In the second story, the rabbi's cat is unimpressed with the husband of the rabbi's daughter Zlabya, but discovers an interesting character in a misplaced Russian escaping from his country because of his ethnicity. Though the Russian is at first thought to be a golem, all but the cat are surprised to discover he is still alive after being transported in a box for so long.

The Russian befriends the cat, for he is able to communicate with it. The Russian announces the existence of a dark-skinned African people who observe and practice the Jewish faith. Along with the rabbi and the sheikh a cousin of the rabbi he and the cat set off to discover this hidden group.

The Rabbi's Cat 2 is a worthy sequel, maintaining the entertainment value from the first volume, but also adding a depth of story and meaning that make the book all the more fascinating.

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