The Price is a story of a middle aged writer living with a penchant of adopting stray cats. A newcomer to his feline family is this mysterious leonine black cat that shows up every morning with bleeding cuts and wounds. Curious about who or what this cat is fighting every night, the writer decided to spy and discovered that the cat is more than what it seems.
Neil Gaiman got the idea for this story from his literary agent, Merrilee Heifetz. She suggested that he write a story about “a cat who was an angel or an angel who was a cat”, since during those days every best-seller is all about angels and almost everybody loves books about cats. With the story The Daughter of Owls, this memoir-ish tale was adapted into a graphic novel and was entitled Creatures of the Night.
The Black Cat character quite struck a chord in me, since I’ve read the novella Coraline before I purchased Smoke and Mirrors (I think now that Gaiman took that cat and redesigned him into less of an angel and more of a guide for Coraline. That’s just an assumption though). Something’s lacking in this story, I think. Maybe it ended so abruptly—I really wanted to see more of this story. It was like, I was already drowning in the setting he’d created and then he pulled me back up to reality without any warning. At least that’s what it felt like. I think it was too short.
Also, it reminded me of the bonus story in the introduction of the collection, The Wedding Present. The part where the Black Cat was kept in the basement and all bad luck came rushing in, and how it ended when they set the Cat free again to loiter around their house and yard…it’s reminiscent of how the wedding description “sucked” all the bad luck away. Not in the same style, but the similarity is there.
Lovely description of the cats and the transforming Devil, though. I loved those parts immensely.