The “cat’s table” is the place where the least important passengers on the ship are seated during mealtimes—and it’s where the novel’s narrator, eleven-year old Michael (nicknamed Mynah), finds himself seated, alongside the companions who will subtly alter and inform the trajectory of his life.
Leonard’s corrosive bipolar depression leads him to self-destruct as his brilliant mind turns against him. Hospitalized for the first time, he realizes that “the smarter you were, the worse it was. The sharper your brain, the more it cut you up.”
In a neat reversal of the Reynard myth, the students at a school that molds young men into “world-class husbands” for purchase by the wealthiest bidder discover a murderer locked away beneath the campus grounds—a personification of all of the human weaknesses and desires that are forcibly discouraged and suppressed in order to create cookie-cutter Prince Charmings skilled in exemplary masculine arts like “Strong Handshakes, Silence, Rudimentary Car Mechanics, How to Mow the Lawn, Explosive Displays of Authority, Sport and Nutrition Against Impotence.”