The Six Lives of Fankle the Cat

George Mackay Brown


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The theme of the book is the power of narrative. Living as she does for story making, Jenny projects her skill on to Fankle. The village schoolchildren are asked to write about Fankle, and their efforts make up the central chapter of the novel. There is stimulus here for readers’ own writing. Mackay Brown modulates the mood delicately—amusing, roistering, and touching. Underlying there is a wistful reminder that all lives, not only Fankle’s, are brief and that humans, unlike cats, have only one.”

—Treasure Island: A guide to Scottish fiction for young readers aged 10–14, Summer 2003

Tom Strynd says that he is going to drown Fankle the cat in the millpond—unless Jenny rescues him. So, even though her mother hates cats, Jenny takes him home. Fankle tells Jenny the stories of his various lives—with pirates, in ancient Egypt, and even with China’s Empress.

George Mackay Brown weaves the story of Orkney’s villagers in his own inimitable style, a rewarding read for adults and children alike.

Ages 10 – 14

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