In brief: Lost Cat; Lake of Urine; LEL – review

Mary Gaitskill’s missing pet prompts an essay on love; an absurdist adventure from Guillermo Stitch; and Lucasta Miller’s biography of Letitia Landon, the ‘female Byron’

Lost Cat
Mary Gaitskill

Daunt Books, £8.99, 120pp (paperback)

Award-winning novelist Mary Gaitskill pivots towards memoir in this book-length essay, bringing rigour and candour to bear on her instincts and emotions. It’s loosely strung around her search for Gattino, a kitten she reluctantly rescues in Italy and brings home to the US, where he promptly vanishes. As winter bites, she leaves trails of food and falls prey to magical thinking, even psychics. Gattino’s disappearance stirs up anxieties about other relationships, too, and the complexities of coping with her difficult late father and of taking two young inner-city siblings under her wing soon become part of an arresting meditation on the nature of love.

Lake of Urine: A Love Story
Guillermo Stitch

Sagging Meniscus Press, £12.99, 214pp

Urine, you should know, is the favourite daughter of Ms Emma Wakeling. The other is named Noranbole and both are of marriageable age. So far, so Jane Austen? Only if you were to splice regency romance with Cold Comfort Farm and The Silence of the Lambs, then transpose the whole caboodle to a claustrophobic, snow-smothered rural landscape and indeterminate present day. The result is a bracing and bizarre escapade powered by some electric prose that is by turns bawdy, grotesque and droll.

Lucasta Miller

Vintage, £11.99, 416pp (paperback)

Letitia Elizabeth Landon was the toast of literary London during the 1820s and her international fans included Edgar Allan Poe and the German poet Heinrich Heine. Then, in 1838, she was found dead in west Africa. The circumstances were suspicious, shunting her into the margins, where she languished until her renown was no more. Only in the past 20 years has her work begun to be revisited, but the woman herself remains a mystery. Lucasta Miller’s fine literary detective work yields a riveting, tantalisingly ambiguous portrait of a poet whose confessional voice and savvy celebrity make her only more intriguing to modern readers.

To order Lost Cat or LEL go to Delivery charges may apply


Hephzibah Anderson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
In brief: Mother: A Memoir; Catherine House; Upheaval – review
Nicholas Royle explores the parent-child bond, Elisabeth Thomas serves up a gothic horror and Jared Diamond unpicks nations in crisis

Hephzibah Anderson

11, May, 2020 @10:59 AM

Article image
In brief: Stay With Me; Eat the Apple; Trajectory – review
Nigerian novelist Ayòbámi Adébáyò’s vivid debut, an inventive Iraq memoir from Matt Young and an introduction to the genius of Richard Russo

Ben East

18, Feb, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
In brief: A Good Enough Mother; Character Breakdown; Take Nothing With You – review
A thoughtful novel from Bev Thomas, a keenly observed memoir from Zawe Ashton and a poignant coming-of-age tale from Patrick Gale

Hannah Beckerman

28, Apr, 2019 @12:00 PM

Article image
In brief: The Family Clause; Anti-Social; My Name Is Why – review
A Swedish family at war, tales from the Asbo frontline, and an affecting memoir of brutality and hope

Hannah Beckerman

19, Jul, 2020 @12:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Nothing to See Here; One of Them; Big Sky – review
A surreal story of a dysfunctional family, and Michael Cashman’s journey from the West End to EastEnders

Hannah Beckerman

02, Feb, 2020 @3:00 PM

Article image
In brief: The Seduction; Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls; James and Nora – review
A brave memoir on love and addiction

Hannah Beckerman

21, Jun, 2020 @10:00 AM

Article image
In brief: The Mountbattens; This Is Happiness; Churchill – reviews
A revelatory aristocratic life, a magical novel and a fine political biography

Alexander Larman

08, Sep, 2019 @2:00 PM

Article image
In brief: All Among the Barley; This Really Isn’t About You; Histories – reviews
Melissa Harrison’s lyrical coming-of-age story, Jean Hannah Edelstein’s unflinching cancer memoir, and consultant oncologist Sam Guglani’s interlinking stories from a busy hospital ward

Hannah Beckerman

19, Aug, 2018 @8:00 AM

Article image
In brief: Balancing Acts; Francis I; The Fire Court
Behind the scenes at the National Theatre, the life Francis I of France, and murder on the streets of London after the Great Fire

Alexander Larman

22, Apr, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
In brief: States of Passion; Unnatural Causes; Devil’s Day – reviews
A story of passion in Syria’s golden age; a compassionate memoir by a leading pathologist; and a tension-filled gothic horror

Hannah Beckerman

16, Sep, 2018 @10:00 AM