Pictured right: David Garret Izzo with Huxley the cat. Huxley is the king of the house; David and the other two cats revolve around him!
For all the cats who imagine they're lions and all cat owners who believe their cats are magical, mystical, and heroic.
A fable for all ages about mystic and mythic heroic cats the size of lions in a time before time when these cats were the gifted species and humans were newcomers. Catland is a parable of goodness adapted from the sweetest essence of mystical philosophy. Catland is about friendship and loyalty, love and devotion, heroism and sacrifice, and lessons for Huxley, Maximus and Princess, when they are kittens early in the story as taught by the great sage Gerald, who is the ancient friend of the mystical eagle and leader of Eagleland, Wystan the Wise. When the kittens become adults and Catland's leaders, they face the threat of the evil human Reltih who wishes to rule the world.
The lessons are about life and educate the young and old. Tears will flow when the orphan, Maximus, becomes Catland's greatest warrior and defends his adopted home from the enemy. And while he does he anguishes that he has lost Princess to his best friend Huxley, a love he never reveals but that he gives to their son Matthias.
David Garrett Izzo has also written a historical novel, A Change of Heart, about the writers Aldous Huxley, W.H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, and their circle from the years 1929-1933. He wrote, performed, and published the one-man play The American World of Stephen Vincent Benet, for this author's Centenary in 1998. David has written or edited many non-fiction books and articles about authors and their work.
Review: Toby Johnson, Sci-Fi award winner for his novel Secret Matter and Editor/Publisher, White Crane Journal.
"Before recorded time, the big cats ruled the world with mysticism, honor, and courage," goes the subtitle for Catland by David Garrett Izzo. On the surface, this is a piece of fluff "but quite fun2 about legendary housecats the size of human beings who inhabit a world a little like Tolkien's Middle Earth where intelligent, even psychic, animal spirits share the earth with one another, wizards, majestic eagles, and problematic human beings, and a little like the galaxy far, far away where the Light and the Dark sides compete for the power of the Force, ie; a world of myth and metaphorical meaning.
The story tells of the adventures of the head of the Cat Freedom Riders, Maximus the First, a black cat with a shiny white chest and burning yellow eyes. Maximus was stolen as a kitten and cared for in capitivity by a wise, magical eagle named Wystan and watched over by a wizard named Gerald. The first half of the book involves Maximus's rescue by the red-and-tan tabby named Huxley.
The second half recounts Maximus's conflict with the evil humans, likened to Nazis with names that are cyphers for Hitler and Mengele, men who have chosen "Second Nature" (the Dark side), that is, ego and power over collective identity and common good.
Izzo's dedication at the head of the book reveals that Max, Huxley, and Princess are he and his wife's household cats. But, of course, the names are also reminiscent of the 1940s and 50s poetry/mysticism circle of W.H. Auden, Gerald Heard, Stephen Spender, Aldous Huxley, and Christopher Isherwood. Izzo is a scholar of this period in English and American letters, having written and edited several books and scholarly anthologies on these mostly gay literary figures. One of Izzo's books is a novelized account of these men's experience of the rise of Nazism in Europe called A Change of Heart (to be published Gival Press) which examines Isherwood's idea of the Truly Strong Man.
Catland is certainly not a roman a clef, though there are parallels between the cats and their namesakes (Huxley the red-and-tan tabby is half-blind from an eye-infection like his namesake Aldous). But it is, in fairy-tale style, another examination of the idea of the Truly Strong Man - or, in this case, Cat - which is one who would give his own life for the sake of transpersonal good (what in Catland is called "Great Mystery").
I liked this little book. As a cat-lover myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the images of giant housecats bounding to the rescue. Izzo's writing is very descriptive. This book is a treat - with a truly mystical message.
Due out in October 2003: A Change of Heart - A historical novel of British authors 1929-1933. By David Garrett Izzo.
Early praise for David Garrett Izzo's novel A Change of Heart.
"Whether you are an adept of Aldous Huxley, W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, or any of the artistic figures of the 1930s, you will be enlightened and entertained by David Garrett Izzo's remarkable A Change of Heart. His recreations are so astonishingly alive and accurate that you feel you are there at the creation, a sudden intimate of a brilliant and select group of artists and writers. Auden and Spender and others parry and debate, live and breathe again; the past recaptured! Izzo knows the period so deeply and has such powers of synthesis that even someone like myself who has been reading Auden for forty years will find fresh factsand will see material already known anew. Stunning, dense, just, and, in the largest and best sense, true." -Roger Lathbury (George Mason University)
"David Garrett Izzo breathes new life into some of the great literary figures of the twentieth century. Historically accurate, fresh with energy, true to character (no easy feat), his prose offers rich new moments with Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, W. H. Auden, and others of their constellation. Izzo creates a wonderfully voyeuristic atmosphere." - Dana Sawyer: author of Aldous Huxley, a Biography.
"A Change of Heart is a detailed portrait of a now mythical time, England and Germany in the 1930s, as told through the lives of real and fictional characters. Here are the young Christopher Isherwood, Wystan Auden and Stephen Spender, as well as the celebrated Aldous Huxley and D. H. Lawrence. David Garrett Izzo draws on his vast knowledge of the times, the people, and their work to create a novel reminiscent of Huxley's Point Counterpoint and Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin yet all his own. Izzo recreates the lives and loves of young and established writers and artists, along with their artistic, philosophic and political battles." - James J. Berg (Editor) - The Isherwood Century and Conversations with Christopher Isherwood.