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Harry, the Rat with Women

Jules Feiffer

Jules Feiffer’s first satirical novel follows the humorous, existential rise and fall of a narcissistic lothario, Harry, from influential high-society hanger-on to suicidal cipher. Harry is “blessed” by his family’s endless bounty of love and hope, raised to believe he is the embodiment of perfection — beautiful, infallible, irresistible. So great are their expectations that he will provide for them in the future that he is given everything he could ever need.


Feiffer’s brilliant modern fable comments less on the anomie of narcissism and more on the insecure desire of the world to find a charismatic messiah. Persuaded to become the attractive face on an idealistic political movement, Harry, finally, realizes the immense power and effect he can have on others. The novel reaches it crescendo when Harry attempts to leave his oblivious, self-obsessed ways behind: he begins to lose himself ­ his entire personality shatters; his looks begin to fail; women reject him!


Originally published in 1963, Harry, the Rat With Women is a typically scathing satirical tour de force in the tradition of Little Murders and The White House Murder Case, a wry, hilarious commentary on the American public’s seemingly endless love affair with chiselers and rats— more relevant now than ever.


Fantagraphics, paperback, 180 pages, published April 2007


£11.99  £8.2731 %

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