As a soldier, Cat loses his foot when he steps on a land mine. Years later after he is married and has two sons he goes on a journey to find his lost foot. Along the way Cat meets people who are friendly and helpful and others who are not so willing to let the war slip into the past.
Cat’s Foot by Brian Doyle tells the story of Cat’s journey as he relays it to his unnamed friend, who writes it all down. While unusual in it’s detail, Cat’s saga speaks to a common yearning: he longs to be reunited with a piece of him that was forcibly taken away. He can feels the bones call to him as he begins his journey in the field where he was injured, but he doesn’t find them there. Many years have passed since the war, and he sets off in the direction he believe the foot may have taken.
Cat himself seems to be an upbeat sort of fellow, looking for the humanity in everyone he meets. It’s a testament to his forgiving nature that in most cases he finds it, and learns about the special talents many of the people he encounters have.
Cat is also a philosopher. I was particularly taken with his idea “of how the world is essentially a very large heating, cooling and ventilation system.” I was also intrigued by the list of questions he asks of his unnamed friend, the one he tells his story to. Essentially, he asks his friend to consider things about himself most of us never give a second thought to. A few of the questions include: “When was the last time you gave food to someone you didn’t know? Are you still living in your first religion? When you sing do people laugh or do they start to sing too?”
This small gem of a book gives the reader much to think about on the nature of war, human nature, forgiveness, healing, and matters of the heart. I highly recommend it.
The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.