Saturday, September 3, 2022

Authors & their Cats: Chester Himes

Happy Caturday! 

Authors & their Cats: Chester Himes

The following is from a book called Writers and Their Cats, a book about writers and their cats by Alison Nastasi.  

Chester Himes, considered the father of the black American crime novel, wrote stories that mirrored the real-life violence and racism happening in the world around him. “American violence is public life, it’s a public way of life, it became a form, a detective story form,” he once said. “So I would think that any number of black writers should go into the detective story form.”

One reprieve from the chaos of everyday life was Himes’s cats, particularly his blue-point Siamese called Griot (1st and Third photos above). “Griot is named after the magicians in the courts of West African kings,” Himes said in a 1972 interview. Griot was Himes’s constant travel companion. When the If He Hollers Let Him Go author didn’t bring Griot along during his adventures, Himes paid the price. In a 1971 interview Himes gave while in Stuttgart, Germany, he claimed he couldn’t stay away from home too long since Griot would “certainly destroy [his] studio back home and chew up all [his] books.” 

After Griot passed away, Himes kept a kitty named Deros, who the writer loved for her sweet personality.

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