To know them is to love them

Autobiography of a Georgia Cat by Michael Cowl Gordon, 2004

Autobiography of a Georgia Cat is the story of a Southern African-American family as it struggles with the illness and death of a granddaughter who is married to a Jewish man. Spiritual and family themes are emphasized. The story is narrated by Black Jack, the remarkable family cat, who also tells of his own life as an indoor-outdoor cat in Marietta, Georgia. Much space is devoted to “feline” mythology and spirituality which have a distinctly Native-American flavor. The strands of many cultures are woven into the fabric of this story, leaving the reader with a positive message of hope and of the oneness of all things. Animal lovers will never look at their pets the same again after meeting Black Jack, a deeply spiritual cat with a wry sense of humor. He agonizes through the alcoholism of his guardian, Archie, and the increasing decrepitude of Archie’s wife, Cora, and her centenarian mother. The constant outpouring of gospel music from Mama’s radio adds to the spiritual power of this charming and touching story. Whether from his commentary on dogs, fur balls, human nature, or whatever he has on his mind as he tells his tale, the reader will know that he has had an encounter with a wise, wonderful, and unforgettable feline.

Michael Cowl Gordon was 60 years of age by the time he published this, his first novel. He acknowledges that for most of his life he has allowed his commitment to family and the demands of his addiction medicine practice to interfere with his writing career. It was five years after the death of his beloved wife, Gena, that he decided to write the story that has become Autobiography of a Georgia Cat. What started as a project to facilitate his healing has turned into a story with universal appeal, and if the world had to wait until his beard was white to hear what he has to say, it was well worth it.

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