Friday, 3 August 2018

A World Without Color by Bernard Jan

A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat by Bernard Jan
Published in Croatian by Epifanija as Svijet bez boja in 2008. English language translation by Bernard Jan published in 2017.

Included in my Vegan Bookshop

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository

One story. Two endings. Genuine and fictional. Which ending is yours?

What do you say to someone who is dying? And what do you say when that someone can't understand a word you are saying? How do you comfort each other throughout... and beyond?

My love, if you go away in a few days, the world will lose its colors and darken like the land of Mordor. If you go away and leave me to wander aimlessly, alone in this sea become wild, like a ship with a broken rudder and drowned sailors, and if I don't find comfort in the warmth of your body, clutched in my embrace at the end of the day, I'm afraid I won't survive.

"I don't regret anything. Marcel was not only my cat, he was my everything. My brother, my friend, my world shrank in a soft gray-striped furry ball."—Bernard Jan

Powerful. Emotional. Honest.

I initially spotted A World Without Color when author Rebecca Gransden reviewed it on Goodreads. She loved this memoir and I had loved her books so I hoped Benard Jan's writing would appeal to me as much as it did to Rebecca. It certainly did!

A World Without Color is Bernard Jan's intensely emotional memories of his cat, Marcel's, last three days and nights of life. Jan's writing is raw with grief yet also beautifully sentimental. He remembers happy moments in Marcel's life and how this cat became as much as part of the family as if he were human. I found myself sometimes welling up as Jan's words brought back memories of my childhood cat. I did often feel upset as I read his words and it's a measure of his delicate touch as a writer that, despite the heartfelt emotion displayed throughout A World Without Color, the memoir is ultimately uplifting and I came away from it almost with a sense of peace at having worked through more of my own bereavement losses, both animal and human.

Readers should be aware that this memoir is likely to trigger negative thoughts and perhaps care should be taken not to read it if one is too close to a bereavement of one's own. However, in the same way as reading A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness), I actually found being given such unrestrained access to Jan's grief was beneficial in dealing with my own.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Bernard Jan / Biography and memoir / Books from Croatia


  1. Books like this are way too sad for me!

    1. Ultimately uplifting, but a painful read on the way

  2. aww this sounds awesome! I love books about grief but thank you for the trigger warning! It would definitely triggered me since we lost our boxer recently. I can imagine how emotional this book must be! Great review!

    1. It's a beautiful memoir to rwad, but maybe in a few months time for you?

  3. I definitely couldn't have read this a few years ago, but I'm in a good place now and would probably appreciate it.

  4. I can't with books like this - too sad! But cats are so awesome! <3