Long Live John Steinbeck

M. Amité, and his right-hand cat, Apollo (Jeffrey McKeever)

A Steinbeck Story About a Chef and His Cat Has Been Published in English for the First Time

by Brigit Katz Smithsonian.com

John Steinbeck is remembered as a giant of 20th-century American literature, a brutal critic of the exploitation of rural laborers, chronicler of dashed hopes and thwarted dreams. But not all of his works carried the heft of East of Eden or The Grapes of Wrath. Take, for instance, “The Amiable Fleas,” a lighthearted short story about a chef and his cat that has now been published in English for the first time.

According to Jacey Fortin of the New York Times, Steinbeck wrote the tale in 1954, while he was living in Paris. The author penned a series called “One American in Paris” for the French newspaper Le Figaro; he would write his pieces in English, and they would subsequently be translated into French. Most of Steinbeck’s submissions were non-fiction, but among them was also “Les Puces Sympathiques,” or “The Amiable Fleas.” The English version of the story appears this week in the Strand Magazine, a literary publication based in Michigan.

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