Click here to read the story in its entirety on The New Yorker webpage. Loiuse Erdrich’s “The Big Cat” was originally published in the March 31, 2014 issue of The New Yorker.

Click for a larger image.

Click for a larger image.

Louise Erdrich, though I don’t love everything she does, is one of my Pantheon authors. I’m excited to see what we have this week. While we read the story and get our thoughts together, feel free to comment below.

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By |2014-03-24T01:04:25-04:00March 24th, 2014|Categories: Louise Erdrich, New Yorker Fiction|5 Comments


  1. Betsy March 24, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Can’t wait to read this, Trevor. But we are on our way for two weeks in Texas to see family and photograph birds. So no commentary for a couple of weeks.

  2. Ken April 2, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I can’t believe I’m the first respondent. I thought this was a perfect little miniature, a gem of precision and ambivalence. We have no reason to suspect anything truly “wrong” with the narrator yet the whole tone becomes increasingly creepy and yet I don’t think any murder or major crime is imminent. I loved how she precisely chose the perfect details of two marriages, with snoring of all things as a central motif!, and created such a wonderful little story which left me really wondering. I’ve enjoyed her stories before but this, in my opinion, is the best I’ve read.

  3. Trevor Berrett April 3, 2014 at 12:40 am

    I can’t believe I’m the first respondent.

    I know! I have been bad at keeping up these past couple of weeks, but I will get caught up and read this one soon.

  4. […] feel bad about being baffled and bewildered because for the first time ever when I turned to Mookse there was… nothing.  Evidently the story stumped them too.  Sure, a lot of emotional depth is packed into a few […]

  5. lotusgreen December 29, 2014 at 12:20 am

    I can hardly believe I’m the second respondent! ;^) Ken, I loved it too, though I feel a little foolish not having caught on, despite the title, that snoring = purring till the very end.

    I became suspicious of Elida at this point:

    When Valery turned twelve, I was cast in a supporting role in a movie that got a lot of attention. It could have been my fabled break. But Elida suddenly panicked over how unhappy Valery was in high school and decided that the schools in Minneapolis were more nurturing.

    (Surely that name, “Elida,” means something in another language, but I’ll not digress.)

    (Something about clarification, perhaps? Or would that be “Eluda”?)

    Would I accuse this story of being surreal? I suppose I could, but only in that way that real life is surreal. A more serious question I am left with is why, exactly, did our (unnamed?) hero so require to be licked with the rough tongue of a buzz-saw rather than continue to barbeque with blond-haired Laurene?

    Can we garner any clues from the list of his “rough cuts”? Rattling off some of his short appearances on TV that Elida had spliced together into a single reel, I lowered a dog in a basket from a burning building, addressed people through a bullhorn, rushed into waves, and dived toward despairing arms. After that, I became a good father, inflated bicycle tires, opened refrigerator doors, lay back smiling in my late-night-shopper’s easy chair, had my waist measured, drove several carloads of screaming kids to sports matches. Small wonder I then got a pounding headache, clutched my jaw, my leg, my heart, wincing in agony. On the reel, he saw now, he had gone straight downhill. This was his birthday gift. This was no honor from his wife; this was a taunt, which he realized too late.

    We are left with the last of his many awakenings in this story. Each time he both sees and does not see the reality he has very clearly chosen.

    Beautiful writing, too.

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