The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones by Stewart Home
Published by Test Centre (2014)
The 9 Lives of Ray The Cat Jones is the exciting new novel by writer, artist and performer Stewart Home. It tells the story of the life of Ray ‘The Cat’ Jones, who nearly became middleweight boxing champion of the world but instead went on to become the greatest cat burglar of all time and made one of the most notorious prison escapes in British history.
Ray is a tee-total, fitness obsessed, working-class Welshman whose boxing ambitions were thwarted when he was set up by a corrupt cop and sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit, setting him on a path of revenge and a crusade against the inequalities and injustices of British society. Ray is a modern Robin Hood waging an ideological class war against the rich. From the jewels of movie stars Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren, to the private papers of the Duke of Windsor, paintings by Rubens and Rembrandt, and the furs of the London aristocracy, Ray’s carefully targeted burglaries are perfectly planned and thrillingly executed.
Part biography, part true crime story, part political manifesto, the novel combines Home’s typically sharp social and political comment with a fascinating, highly personal story of a life of crime and punishment. Ray was, it emerges, the cousin of Home’s mother.
The novel is in many ways a departure for Home; formally more traditional than his avant-garde ‘anti-novels’, nonetheless it plays with the traditions of biographical writing, blurring the lines between real life and fiction, biography and autobiography. It is as funny and astute as anything Home has written. Its compelling amalgamation of the genres of biography, crime thriller, historical fiction, satire and political protest novel will appeal to Home’s many followers, while attracting a wide new range of readers. To the uninitiated, it is a perfect way in to the unique world of Home’s writing.