Thursday, May 9, 2013

Book Review: Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat

"Though sitting in the box brings momentary feelings of contentment, it is, in the end, an illusion. My ennui cannot be contained." - Henri, le Chat Noir

On any given day, my favorite internet feline changes. One day it might be Lil Bub, and the next it could be Tardar Sauce. But one figure who stole my heart right from the start was Henri, le Chat Noir, the philosophical French feline from Seattle who has gained thousands of fans (and millions of YouTube views), for dishing out his existential musings to the delight of bored house cats everywhere.

Although he seemed to appear out of nowhere, Henri's sudden rise to fame was not exactly an overnight success. His first video, Henri, was released six years ago, but it wasn't until filmmaker William Braden released the follow-up, Henri 2, Paw de Deux, in 2012, that the world finally began to take notice. The video, which has gone on to inspire several sequels, garnered over 7 million views, and also won the coveted Golden Kitty award at the first ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival in Minneapolis. Late film critic Roger Ebert declared it "The best internet cat video ever made," and I tend to agree.

As part of his growing empire of ennui, which also includes popular Facebook and Twitter profiles and a line of merch (a portion of the proceeds go to charity), last week saw the release of the world's first and foremost feline philosopher's book debut, "Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst Filled Cat."

Although the cover credits William Braden (aka the "thieving filmmaker") as the author, the introduction makes it clear that the book was not a collaborative effort, as Henri himself writes: "Now I am finally able to put forth my unedited thoughts without interference. Though my search for answers has, thus far, been fruitless, perhaps somehow I will provide you with a new insight. If not, at least this will make you look smart if you leave it on your coffee table."

Priscilla wonders how Henri feels about older women

The hardcover features several never-before-seen black and white photographs of the handsome tuxedo kitty (including an adorable kitten pic, as well as a centerfold shot that Priscilla particularly enjoyed), as well as new and classic quotes, culled from his extensive videography. Fans are also treated to guest appearances from the white imbecile, Henri's simpleminded feline roommate who doesn't share his deep thoughts.

Henri 6, "Cat Littérature"

Braden recently released a new video in conjunction with the book, where Henri delves into his distaste for sharing the spotlight with a "bald buffoon" who "doesn't even own a tuxedo." If you're looking to capture the magic of Henri in book form, human and feline fans won't be disappointed.

"Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat" is available now on Amazon, or through any of the booksellers listed here.

Henri, je t'aime!

Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book for review, but all opinions and philosophical felines contained in this post are my own.



CATachresis said...

I love Henri! My hero! It won't be long before the existential musings of this angst ridden feline will be studied alongside Hegel and Kierkegaard in the worlds best universities!! ;)

Kristina said...

Oh, I must have this book! I am enamored by Henri's deep understanding of suffering and the complexities of life. :) What a treat to us all that the filmmaker decided to create Paw de Deux six years after the first, otherwise Henri would possibly still be a kitty without an audience to appreciate his wisdom. ;)

Anonymous said...

I agree. This is a must-have book for lovers of cats, philosophy, photography, or just plain books.

Anonymous said...

I adore Henri! The book is on my wish list for my birthday...coming soon. Henri is my "friend" on Facebook ad I love seeing what he has to say on a regular basis. I have watched his videos over and over and never tire of them. Thank you to the "thieving filmmaker!"

kimbybrow60 said...

Existential angst or a permanent case of seasonal affective disorder due to life in Seattle? I have a cat with a temperament so similar to Henri. His name is Vincent. Little did I know when I named him after Van Gogh that I was placing a heavy burden on him. As a result, I clearly connected with dear Henri.

Anonymous said...

Pauvre Henri!

Anonymous said...

The book is a classic. Every person who considers themselves an intellectual and/or an educated and sophisticated individual must have a copy.

Diane Barker said...

I am waiting for dear Henri to discover Buddhism......

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