Honey, I Killed The Cats by Dorota Masłowska

Posted August 1, 2020 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary / 2 Comments

Honey, I Killed The Cats by Dorota MasłowskaTitle: Honey, I Killed The Cats (Goodreads)
Author: Dorota Masłowska
Translator: Benjamin Paloff
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing, 2019
Pages: 176
Genres: Contemporary
My Copy: ARC from Publisher

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryWordery (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Polish writer Dorota Masłowska has had a stellar literary career so far, publishing her first novel (Snow White and Russian Red) at just 19. She has won the NIKE Literary Award (a prestigious Polish award) in 2006 for her second novel, which has yet to be translated into English. Out of her six books, half have been translated into English, the latest being Honey, I Killed the Cats which was translated by Benjamin Paloff. In this novel Dorota Masłowska tells the tale of two independent woman as they try to navigate their lives and friendship in our modern world.

Before talking about the novel, I want to quickly talk about satire, mainly because I am sick of seeing confusion around this literary device. There are two main types of satirical writing, Horatian is playful, while Juvenal is scolding. Satire is used to criticise social issues; it doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with humour. The reason I wanted to talk about these differences is because I think Honey, I Killed the Cats does a wonderful job in incorporating the Horatian and Juvenal satire into the novel. On one hand we have a playful, humorous look at mass-media and consumerism, then there is a harsh exploration into the dangers of corporate greed, diet culture and fitness fads.

Another reason why I wanted to talk about the different satirical styles was because I have an example of each that I think seem to share some similarities to Honey, I Killed the Cats. For Horatian satire, I had a similar vibe to Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal, in the sense that it shared a very similar style of dark humour. Then the style of Juvenal satire similar to this novel, I think would be American Psycho, in the way it attempted to explore the destructive nature of modern trends, but it used advertising jingles in a similar way Bret Easton Ellis did with fashion descriptions.

On the back of the book is a quote that says this books a cross between Virginie Despentes and Blade Runner. While this is an apt description, especially since Blade Runner is set in 2019, the book that I am reminded of is Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. There is a similarity here that is both playful and bitter towards modern consumerism that I find fitting. Needless to say, I appreciate a novel that knows how to both have fun and deal with some real issues.

I read this novel soon after finishing Ducks, Newburyport so I think I might have gone for some deeper interpretation. The plot became less important and even irrelevant to my reading experience. I had a great time with Honey, I Killed the Cats and am curious to explore more from Dorota Masłowska. I found it strange going from a book like Ducks, Newburyport to something like this novel but thankfully there was plenty to explore. Despite the fact that this review says nothing about the plot of this book, I hope I have said enough to interest others.

2 responses to “Honey, I Killed The Cats by Dorota Masłowska

  1. I think it’s useful to define satire in the way that you have… a lot of people just don’t understand it and they react to the literal sense of what’s being said…

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