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May 15, 2015

Book Review: Max and the Cats by Moacyr Scliar

Max and the Cats by Moacyr Scliar
Max Schmidt grew up in the stockroom of his father's fur store, cloaked among the foxes, minks, and leopards, hiding from the glaring eyes of a stuffed tiger atop the wardrobe. It is here he dreams of traveling to distant lands; and here, as a young man, he begins an affair with the store's married clerk.

Forced to flee when his lover's husband discovers the affair and denounces Max to the Nazi secret police, Max steals away to Hamburg, where he takes passage on a freighter destined for disaster. When the ship founders somewhere off the coast of South America, Max is trapped in a dinghy with a hungry jaguar. Max believes his days are numbered-until he washes ashore on the coast of tiny Porto Alegre, Brazil, prepared to begin anew in the tropical clime.

But when Max discovers his next-door neighbor is a Nazi hiding from persecution, he finds that for the first time in his life, he is the master of his own destiny, ready to take matters into his own hands...
I bought Max and the cats last year, without knowing what was about. I thought it was a book for children, maybe young adult, but I've discovered it's actually a book for adults and the 'inspiration' for Life of Pi.

Only in a few pages the author tells us the life of Max Smichtd, a young man who has to escape from German nazi police to Brazil, and from that point his monotone life starts being full of changes and some adventures, starting with surviving in a boat with a Jaguar.

It's a very simple story, very easy to read, and it makes you curious to know what's going to happen to Max. But since it's a very short book, it was too fast to read and at the end left me confused and waiting for more, but there wasn't anything else to tell.


  1. Oh wow, this one was the inspiration for the Life of Pi! I didn't know there was a book like this one. I have the book Life of Pi but have yet to read it or watch it, but afterwards I will make sure to check this one out too!

    1. I only watched the movie hehe, but I'd love to read your review of the book.