This short book is the deeply-felt and well-written account of the love and interdependence between a man and his companion animal. All those who have had a pet, and there are many of us, know that the time comes when the last kindness we can give them is to ease their journey out of the world.
A WORLD WITHOUT COLOR
An intensely emotional and moving book, extremely well written and powerful. The author articulated his emotions so well that it reduced me to tears as it brought back vivid memories of losing my own beloved pets as a child. A true wordsmith.
By Llamedos, December 12, 2018, published on Amazon UK, 5/5
What a beautiful and emotional story. I felt the pain and it brought back the memories of my cat who passed away 2 years ago. Bernard’s last few days were very reminiscent of the last few days in our cats life. It is truly a heartbreaking experience to go through. A great book to read
By Tracey, November 27, 2018, published on Amazon, 5/5
I loved this story my cat died, four years ago today and he died in my arms his name was EJ he was a part of my family, just like anyone else.
By JD Couch, November 18, 2018, published on Amazon, 5/5
If you have ever loved a pet, you will understand the heartfelt emotions that run throughout this book. The World Without Color is not an easy book to read. My emotions were up and down. I wanted to hug Bernard's parents, especially his dad. I wanted to thank his friend for his assistance. I wanted to scream at Bernard. Actually, I wanted to talk to him to find out what makes him tick.
There are few books I have read in recent years that have brought tears to my eyes, a sigh of relief, and such an overwhelming feeling of love. I am sure Liam, my cat, had no idea why he was getting so much love and attention. But, this true story makes us more aware of those wonderful creatures that make our lives fuller.
By SinDe, October 31, 2018, published on Amazon, 5/5
Wonderful, sensitive & emotionally-moving memoir about the final days in a feline friend's life as written by the loving guardian of Marcel.
By Teresa Durso, October 18, 2018, published on Amazon, 5/5
This is a short book about grief. It is beautifully written and details in depth the struggle of letting go of a loved one. The book covers the last three days that the author spent with his pet cat Marcel. During this time period Jan has to come to terms not only with the fact that his beloved cat is dying but that in order to be kind he must help the process. The inner struggle is real and heart felt. The writing is eloquent and worthy of the deepest relationship. This would be a good read for someone struggling with grief who needs to have that grief validated.
While currently dealing with critical illness in one of my cats, this book is a challenge to read. I'm going very, very slowly. Placing "our" situation in some sense of understanding. Many of Bernard's thoughts I also have pondered. Is comforting to learn of the conflicts you are experiencing have been felt by so many more pet owners. I know I will reach the point, of saying... its time. But am still holding on... and Butterfly seems to be too>
By Linda Lpp, September 11, 2018, published on Goodreads, 4/5
This is a true story about a cat named Marcel and his last three days of life with his owner. It's a story of unconditional love and healing. It's filled with raw emotion and his everlasting love for Marcel.
Losing a pet is a very difficult thing to experience - they are not just pets - they are family and you mourn their loss. The tender loving care Bernard gave to Marcel throughout his life and at the end touched my heart.
Bernard's vivid description of events and saying "goodbye" to his beloved Marcel is overwhelming. The connection he has with Marcel will stay with me for some time. This book is a mission of love and how to live without Marcel - but yet - Marcel's spirit is with Bernard.
This book tells the story of the emotional journey of the author during the last days in the life of his much-beloved cat Marcel. There are two endings to the book and you can choose which ending you prefer. One is sad, the other is darker. It follows the heartache, pain and care of his cat, while he still needs to perform at his job as well. The entire family is involved in the care for this treasured pet.
There was hardly a page within this book where my hanky was not required. He describes his heartache in such magnificent detail you nearly feel like you live it with him.
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.
By Stephanie Jane, TOP 1000 REVIEWER, August 2, 2018, published on Amazon UK, July 29, 2018, published on Goodreads, August 3, 2018, published on Literary Flits, and February 9, 2022 published on HirlGrend, 5/5
This story is a heartwarming and emotional ode to the last three days that the author spent with his cat, Marcel. Although I read far more fiction than nonfiction, I enjoyed the book and was honored that Mr. Jan would offer to share such a personal memoir with me and the rest of the world.
I thought that this memoir was extremely touching, and I would recommend it to any animal lover, especially those that might be dealing with grief or loss. Mr. Jan, thank you so much for sharing your work with me. I look forward to seeing more from you in the future!
My home is empty without her. My life is empty without her. My world is empty without her.
A World Without Color -- such a proper, yet painfully accurate title. So graceful and truthful, hauntingly beautiful. It implies loss, grief, the lack of; yet, it is soft, gently bringing in you into its meaning -- a miserable existence, which remains assigned to this here realm of the living.
I won’t go into details about all the health problems my lovely has been experiencing in the last two and a half years. I will only proclaim she was a warrior of life, of cuddles, simply loving to love.
I started reading this book immediately after finding out that she might not last longer than a month or two, end of December last year. I needed some comfort, some fellow human (other than myself and my significant other), who had dealt with it by creating art. After several pages I gave up. It was too much to bear, too close to home, mirror image almost; although at that point, my cat was not as severely hurting as the author’s.
Why did I put myself through something that intense, during already difficult circumstances? I’m not sure. My subconsciousness needed it I suppose, as a buffer -- it was possibly a way to give me strength to make the decision that was inevitable without making her suffer longer than necessary, while at the same time needing to make sure she will not get better, like she has so many times before.
We said goodbye as we sang her cuddle song to her. We watched as her beautiful green eyes had turned to haze, to grey, to black; I held her in my arms on the way home, one last time.
Three days later, I finally finished the book. I was ready to sob and grieve with the author. To reject life, and color.
By Jasna, July 12, 2018, published on Goodreads, 5/5
Beautiful and moving, at some point really hard to read when you lost someone dear. Couldn't help but empathise with this loss ❤️
By Simon Vandereecken, July 11, 2018, published on Goodreads, 4/5
Bernard Jan tells in detail the last 3 days of Marcel’s life, as his cat goes through its final stages of suffering from diabetes. This story is very emotional and touching, which felt like a self-professing love poem to Marcel – his pet, his companion, his love. The emotions are raw and unrestrained and the difficult decision to stop the suffering by putting Marcel to sleep, weighs heavily on his heart yet it is the final act of kindness he can offer.
The story will resonate most acutely with those that have pets where they have developed a relationship which integrates them as part of the family. It is very emotive for those that have experienced a similar situation of loss. The poetic language makes it more personal and heartfelt, and it feels like an intimate letter, a gift, which will last as a final testament to his love for Marcel.
The power of this book is that it opens an old wound or fear, a wound that you don’t want to close, a wound that itches and needs to be scratched. You need to bleed!
This is an emotionally- resonant and very touching story about a man who lost his beloved cat. Bernard Jan truly gets what it is like to be loved by a cat.
By Tarheels, June 4, 2018, published on Amazon, 5/5
First thing I felt when I read this book was admiration. As cat's fan, I can understand endless love toward this noble animals, but especially when they are your pets. This story is going through many details about life in common with a pet, so precisely that I can see the clear image of love. Here are three levels : anger because of death, acceptance and memories. This story is more sensitive and sophisticated than some romantic novels, but yet it did not cross the limit of exaggerating. Thanks for the wonderful story.
A heartbreaking account of the last days spent with a beloved friend that takes the reader through a rollercoaster of emotions. As each stage of Marcel’s last days unfolded, I was gripped with deep sadness and could relate to the devastation of loss. I applaud the author for sharing this very honest experience.
This sweet autobiographical novella will pull your heart strings all the way through. So many of us know what it’s like to lose a pet (or close to fifteen in my case) and it’s one of the worst things. A World Without Color encapsulates this feeling as we follow Bernard’s last days with his beloved cat. I immediately knew how he was feeling from the first sentences and rode it out with him and the memories of my own loses flew rapidly to the forefront of my mind. He captured it so well and you want everything to be OK even through you know there’s no going back. This emotional tale of a man losing his best friend truly shows how pets really are the best thing for us.
A book that will exercise your heart strings as it is brimming with emotions. Keep that box of tissues close. Recommend it.
By Wilbur Seymore, March 29, 2018, published on Amazon UK, 5/5
Just finished 'A World without color', which at times made me wish I hadn't read it. I was crying with every page of it. Such a moving story and it really pulled on my heartstrings. Absolutely loved the way you described the agony of losing a loved one. It really was painful to follow the process with the author. It is however something each and everyone of us goes through at some stage in our life, whether it's a family member or another family member like your pet. Great work.
By Dr JEC Bennekerson, March 25, 2018, published on Amazon UK, 5/5
This piece brilliantly conveys the shocking pain that comes with watching the decline of a loved one, and the agony that comes from even an anticipated loss. The prose conveys the day-to-day, sometimes almost moment-by-moment anguish of a family reluctantly saying goodbye to a much loved pet with a clarity and relatability that had me ensnared, not wanting to finish, but also not wanting to delay reaching the inevitably painful, yet illuminating, conclusion.
By Liulfr, March 21, 2018, published on Amazon, 5/5
5542. A World Without Color A True Story by Bernard Jan translated from the Croatian by Bernard Jan (read 10 Mar 2018) This is a book originally published in 2017 in Croatian which the author translated into English. It tells of the last three days of the life of the author's cat, Marcel. Anyone who has suffered the death of a beloved cat, as I have, will empathize with the grief which the author and his parents go through as the cat sickens. The title of the book says it is a true story, and I prefer to believe it, even though there is a reference at the end of the account to a "novella" and an 'alternative ending' in which the author despairs. Which ending do I prefer? Obviously, the true one, since we know the author lives. The reading is not one of joy, but of poignant pain and sorrow. I appreciate the author supplying me with a copy of the book in return for this honest review.
By Schmerguls, March 10, 2018, published on Amazon, 4/5
Jan Bernard's book "A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat" is not for everyone, but pet owners as well as people who have experienced tremendous loss, like somebody dying of cancer will probably love his words.
At the end of his book, Bernard writes, "Writing this book was a question of survival, it was not an option or a choice. This story is personal and very important to me, so thank you for reading it" which is probably exactly how named groups of people feel about their losses; in a way Bernard encourages them to do as he did - put their thoughts down on paper, celebrate past days and learn to cope with the inevitable.
Bernard's story of Marcel's (his cat's) last days is beautiful and sad. He celebrates every tiny glimmer of hope, "... You wanted to boast to Saša that you were doing better and let him know how much his visits mean to you and how much you appreciate what he does for you..."; alas, to no avail.
Buried in this book are two important thoughts:
(p.10) "... the bookkeeping service where I worked for three years before I turned that page in life and became fully active in the animal protection and rights association..."
Living with Marcel made the author realize what he really wanted to do and he went after it. It's a more humble expression of the concept "Follow your Dreams" which is uttered daily in the United States, yet so few do.
(p.14) "... humans have a choice: the choice between good and evil, compassion and cruelty, empathy and ignoring, and we do not use it. We do not use common sense because our stomach blinds our mind and everything flows through it. At least most of us..."
And, the final question, "... If you, my star, die out, I don’t know what will happen to this constellation called your family..."
Having been there, having to put down my first cat Dixie, I know how it feels but eventually I learned that Bernard is wrong in thinking "... Adopting someone after you, after all we’ve been through together, seems like a betrayal..." and adopted first Artemis and then Yin-Yang as a playmate for Artemis. All three, the late Dixie, as well as now Artemis and Yin-Yang are part of my family.
The author writes he is a poet too. Well, I believe it, his book is poetic and beautiful.
Highly recommended to cat lovers and people who have experienced tremendous loss. I am both.
This isn’t a long book, but I had to read it a little piece at a time. It’s really heartbreaking stuff. If you’ve ever loved and lost a pet, you’ll know exactly where Jan is coming from, and he articulates it perfectly. Oh, the feels! All of them! One of the things that got me was how he kicks himself for tiny, seemingly inconsequential pleasures denied while there was still time. He didn’t go pick some immature grass for his feline friend to chew on, and can’t get over the fact that he didn’t. Yeah. Years later, I still know that feeling. I’m sorry, George LaForge.
I’m thinking about it now and I can’t even write any more. This is a very difficult but beautiful book.
Bernard Jan’s novella is guaranteed to evoke powerful emotions in the reader. More than once I was reading the words through the fog of my own tears. This is not only due to the compelling theme of unconditional love, but can also be attributed to the author’s poetic use of language which help to garner these feelings. His descriptions and thoughts are beautiful and moving. From the joyful flashbacks to the inevitable death of Marcel, the scenes are completely enchanting.
When I first began reading this novella I believed it would really only resonate with animal lovers. Indeed, true animal lovers understand that our animals are family members and we love them as much as any human. Those who have not experienced such relationships could not possibly relate to this book… right? Wrong! The theme of unconditional love for another being is captivating and all encompassing. It will click an emotional nerve in anyone who has the good fortune to read it. (...)
5 teary stars for Bernard Jan’s powerful novella!
When I started reading this book, I was sad and it only got worse. This book is a quick read, I would have finished it in a day, but my kitties kept preventing me from doing so making me lose my place, getting in my line of sight, sticking their heads out from under my Kindle, etc. The writing is marvelous and very very well written except for one thing however. This isn't such a big deal, but it's just one of my pet peeves that I have. It appears that Jan chose not to use quotation marks, I hate it when I have to guess who says who and when they say it. With his writing, however, you could make out who says what and there isn't much dialogue in the book. I'm just putting this as a heads up to those who are kind of like me to be warned. Besides that, I loved the whole story. I can't imagine what I would go through when my kitties may go through this.
This was a story book all to itself, heart-breaking, sadness and a display of true love. I found Bernhard’s words to be very poetic through his love for his cat, with each passing word I felt as if I was right there shedding a tear with Bernard as he spoke those final words. This was such a powerful and moving story, one that I will definitely be reading it again.
What I found immediately was the raw emotion that the author is feeling is perfectly described on the page, they hold nothing back as they describe not only the situation, but the importance of Marcel to them. You really do feel as if your right alongside them as they go through their final three days.
Now this is probably not a novel to start reading if you are already feeling a tad down that down, when reading it’s so hard no not get caught up in emotion and at times it did feel quite a struggle to get through, not due to bad writing or anything like that but because it puts into sharp focus whats important and that you should really be hugging your pets right now!
At the same time it probably would provide some comfort to those that may of experienced a loss like this, their is a definite feeling that your not alone, as well as perhaps sharing some of your grief. The author does make the story deeply personal and perhaps just that little bit too emotional if anything. However it is a beautiful touching read.
The writing style of the author is simply beautiful; honest, poetic and full of emotions. I could feel his love for his dear cat, Marcel, and it made me think that some humans aren't capable to feel for other human being that way. And it is really pity. I knew from the beginning that it will be an emotional, heartbreaking story, but I was impressed how the author managed to transmit also some of his thoughts and I do applaud him for the strong messages. Yes, it is a sad novella and I could feel tears in the corner of my eyes quite often. I felt lucky I never got to experience the tragic past days, months of pain, the loss of a pet, but I also felt admiration for what the author stands for. I am sure that Marcel was the happiest cat in the world. If only all the animals would face the same destiny. Or humans? We can do much more to make this world a better place. What is stopping us?
By Nico J. Genes, January 22, 2018, published on Steemit, Goodreads and Instagram; February 18, 2018, published on Amazon UK; April 7, 2018, published on Amazon; August 15, 2018, published on nicojgenes.com; August 17, 2018 published on Instagram, 5/5
I had a unique experience with this book. When I bought it, my beloved 14-year-old cat Frodo was alive. When I finished it, his ashes were sitting next to his brother’s on our family china cabinet. (...) So, as you can imagine, it took me a while to find the strength to read A World Without Colour by Bernard Jan.
The novella is told in first-person present tense by the narrator, whom we can presume is the writer in this instance. The language is raw and beautifully honest, it explores in detail the turmoil felt by a person when they know the horrific inevitable is going to happen. I found it a little ‘flowery’ at times for my personal taste, but this did not affect my reading of the story. A believer and campaigner in animal rights, the narrator struggles to stop fighting. (...) He questions himself, notes his own addiction to Marcel, but refuses to back away and let death take his friend. Even after Marcel’s death, the narrator carries around the needles that ended Marcel’s life, which I found a beautiful and moving demonstration of love.
The characters are complex and realistic in their actions. (...) Each character reacts to death differently. (...) The narrator himself has two endings, one genuine and one fictional. In the genuine ending, the narrator finds peace and opens up to his friends, keeping his vow to Marcel that he will honour his cat’s memory. In the fictional ending, the narrator jumps off his balcony, refusing to allow himself an end like Marcel, where he is put down by others when he is no longer able to fight. He makes his own choice. He joins Marcel in an afterlife setting, together again with his soulmate.
It was not only the characters but the environment that made this book very real. The locations are primarily the narrator’s home and his workplace, which adds a sense of claustrophobia and entrapment to the work. These places of comfort are being disturbed by the presence of death and the narrator cannot escape either one of them. We see how death changes the everyday environment, which I found extremely engaging and a skilful act on the writer’s part. It is only in the last handful of pages that we are introduced to a new environment: the street. (...) These contrasting uses of environment were simple yet powerful, I applaud the writer for his ability to weave grand themes – such as death – into his use of landscapes.
This short powerful novella is a must read. It gave me permission to stop grieving in many ways, because Bernard Jan told me it was okay to feel like I did and it was okay to move on, despite suffering an emptiness that will never be filled. I would give this book to anyone who has pets, because it will give you an insight into what will happen one day. We’re telling you it is okay and that you aren’t alone.
As someone who has worked with hospice, in hospital, health care centers, and survivor’s of loss and trauma, for close to 40 years, I must say that this is one of the most honest, compassionate, and understanding description of what grief can feel like that I have ever read – and I’ve read a lot of books about grief, loss, death and bereavement.
A heart-wrenching memoir of a man's last three days in the life of his beloved cat. Bernard had spent nearly 15 years with Marcel, his cat. It had become his confidante, companion, like a sibling, seeing him through difficult situations, as watching his grandmother slowly fade and die from dementia to through troubling times as the dangerous and frightening Croatian War of Independence. He had basically grown up with him, and what pain and grief engulfed him as he watched the life of his best friend come to an end. The book is also like a letter to Marcel chronicling those last days, and a tribute to the life and experiences they had shared together. The reader can truly feel the anguish Bernard felt watching his beloved feline's life be extinguished. I received this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Bernard!
By Stacy, January 3, 2018, published on Goodreads, 4/5
My friend Jennifer and her sister both lost their pets this past year, I felt their loss, and I wonder if I owned a pet would I feel the sorrow the pain that comes with having a pet. Admittedly Bernard Jan's book wouldn't be something I would pick up and read, but reading this book rewarded me with an increase in compassion, 2017 was a year of outside forces being so damn negative. Reading this book, I got a glimpse of something I never had with a pet. Bernard Jan's writing flows that you don't have force yourself to read someone's most inner feelings. His book shines a light on my humanity, and I question my dependency on eating meat. How do we face the certain death of a loved one? Bernard does it with emotion and honesty and most importantly with originality.
Thank You, Bernard!
I've been wanting to read this story by Bernard Jan for some time. I first became aware of it on Twitter. I knew this would be a hard story for me personally to read as we lost our much beloved, Nibbles, 2yrs ago this coming New Year's Eve day. She was a daughter to me, through everything in life with her unconditional love, and like Bernard and his family, did all we could to save her and have her stay with us longer.
God only knows why I chose to read this today, Christmas Day. Perhaps as a message guiding me towards healing?
Bernard did a wonderful job detailing the last days of Marcel's life, his love and his family's love for their beloved furbaby.
Marcel knew how much love was surrounding his earthly presence and I've no doubt he guided Bernard in his last days just as he did thought his life with the family.
When people say it's only a cat (or dog), they are WRONG. They are just as much part of our family as a human is. The pain is unbelievable.
I felt your personal pain Bernard and now know I'm not alone in feeling this way. Some of the things you wrote we're exactly what I experienced.
The only reason I've given this a 4 star is because I got tripped up a few times and got confused with the writing and then the ending. That may be from the translation. I'm not sure.
Real, emotional, short memoir. Get tissues ready.
Be free Marcel, be pain free and play over the Rainbow Bridge ❤️
I received a review copy of this book and this is one truly emotional story! I must agree, the connection that forms between a pet and its master is formidable. In this book, we have an analysis of this bound, to its most sensitive aspects. So I can only appreciate what the author managed to express in this amount of pages.
The writing is very emotional and it depicts very well his emotions and conflict. Any pet owner will identify with his story and with all he has had to deal with. I used to be an owner as well, so I can relate to some of these states. As well, the connection he has with Marcel is presented in detail. Marcel is no longer a cat, but a piece of his heart, a life companion. All the events they had to go through together are heartwarming at least.
“A World without Color” is a truly remarkable story, just not a story for me. While I enjoyed the writing and I appreciated the remarkable amount of emotions that this book offers, for me it was too much. Objectively, I would give all 5 stars for sure, but personally, I cannot give more than 3. So let’s maintain an average and go with 4 stars.
A World Without Colour: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat is an emotional novella and memoir about his last three days with his cat. This was a short read which only made it more enjoyable- it made it honest and not exaggerated. I truly enjoyed the main concept of this novella and how truthful it was. The author placed his raw thoughts into words and produced a moving read.
The novella felt poetic and moved me to tears. The way each thought and feeling was described was simply incredible. It takes a lot of skill to describe emotions and Bernard Jan has mastered this skill!
I highly recommend this book and I hope that everyone takes a chance to read it! I also hope to hear more from this incredible author who has become one of my greatest inspirations.
Very moving and emotional story, in fact, I shed a tear.
Anyone who has a pet for a long time will relate to this book. The show of compassion and love is adorable as the Author grieves his loss.
By Haley Belinda, December 10, 2017, published on Goodreads, 5/5
Reading a World Without Color brought back so many memories of my beloved Shadow, who was my companion and my love for nineteen wonderful years. Like the author, I was heartbroken when I had to let her go, but also, like Bernard and his family, it was the right thing to do. I shed a lot of tears as I was reading. This book is well written and spoken from the heart. You can feel Bernard’s pain with every word, feel the love he has for this cat who is so much more the just the family pet. The book cover needs no words, all the love and emotion are right there. The second ending was a bit of a surprise, but for some reason, it just worked. Personally, I preferred the reality of the first. Thank you, Bernard, for sharing your love for Marcel with the world. I will be recommending your book to all my fellow kitty lovers.
By Linda Thompson, Host of TheAuthorsShow, December 10, 2017, published on Amazon, 5/5
More than the cat or the pet, this book is ultimately about love in its unconditional form. It depicts the extent of a person’s attachment and affection to a non-human and the love that transcends the boundaries of the species. Moreover, it describes the beauty of unreciprocated action in the name of duty and obligation as a manifestation of love. Finally, it presents the ultimate choice someone has to make: either to carry the burden of being the angel of death to the one he loves the most for the rest of his life by putting an end to the agony and suffering of his beloved or to wait for the end to come on its own as he watch the love of his life expire swiftly and painfully.
Bernard is standing vigil over his terminally ill cat, caressing it, helping it feed, watching it, remembering the good days they had. He fleetingly considers putting it down to relieve its pain and misery, but decided against it. As long as the cat had life and a will to fight, he would let it live. The cat helped him cope with his grandmother’s dementia, and now, it was his turn to stand watch over his dearest pet. Watching the cat, he reminisces about the good times they had together. Realizing the cat will die soon, he feels some color and vibrancy will vanish from the world. He wondered if cats had dreams and what his cat dreamt about in its final days. He decides he will never get another pet, the pain of letting go after years of attachment would be too painful. Bernard finds the process of putting down his cat, making its passing a beautiful thing, particularly painful. Afterward, he and has his family offer each other mutual support.
In A World Without Color, a moment of true life, Bernard Jan takes readers through a somber and thoughtful journey of mental anguish, reflection, and shared suffering over a beloved pet he cannot save. It is a journey filled with vivid images, little anecdotes of shared events, regrets and helplessness to alter time. It is also a dark journey which some readers will not want to face, or have already faced after losing a loved one, but Bernard Jan walks readers through his sorrow with unusual sensitivity and insight. His emotions are palpable, and I was caught up in his sorrow, watching his pet slowly die, unable to prevent its passing. This short novella is beautifully written and easy to read, leaving me pondering the fleeting nature of time and life.
A World Without Color is an emotional novella about Marcel, the beloved cat, and Bernard, the owner of this beautiful animal. Bernard shares the last three days of Marcel’s life in what I found to be a very touching story.
The author’s emotions and the way he expresses what he endures was very raw and authentic. I felt as though, I was there as the third person and grieved as he grieved. The true love felt between the two was stunning. The work reached unsuspected depths of emotional turmoil, and the literature represented it a very lovely way.
The only thing I would improve would be the ending. I believe a story that is real, surely can end with a tangible ending as well.
I believe the reason why this book stands out is that nothing about it felt fabricated. If you are an animal lover, you will really enjoy reading this book and understand how it is to love an animal.
In addition, I really like the name of the book. Life truly does lose its color when you lose your love.
I would like to recommend this novela with two different endings. (...) This book is highly recommended if you are a pet owner and even if you aren’t.
Full of emotion and grief, it chronicles the author’s final days with his cat Marcel. I could have done without the overtly pro-vegan message (which took me off the story been told a few times). Hard to believe the author is Croatian and English is not his first language. As a matter of fact, he proves love is universal as well as feelings towards our pets.
I rated it an 8/10. Bring a handkerchief when you read it.
If you had or have a pet like me, you will feel the heart touching of this book by Bernard Jan.
I had the most beautiful female cat I ever see. It was black, with a round face with blue eyes, and its face was so tender and nice. It slept with me near my head.
This excellent book reminds me about Pily, my beloved kitten.
I highly recommend this story. Buy it and enjoy your pets now when they are alive and well!
By Enriquillo Rodriguez, November 10, 2017, published on Amazon, 5/5
I love this book. love the cover.
By Arushi Singhon, November 8, 2017, published on Amazon, 5/5
Powerful story that will make you cry. I could have done without the pro vegan message. a must read for pet owners everywhere.
By Heckie, November 3, 2017, published on Amazon, 4/5
This trye story has got to be one of the saddest books I have ever read!
I cried almost all the way through it.
It's very well written, almost like poetry, almost every sentence is so descriptive and compared to something else of beauty.
I did struggle through my tears and almost gave up at the hardest part as there were so many similarities to my own experience.
If you're prepared for this heart-rending story I think you'll enjoy it.
By carrie, November 1, 2017, published on Amazon UK, 4/5
Once a long time ago I had a cat called Pugsy who meant the world to me. I rescued her from the “bag-and-river thing” when she was but a scrawny baby and she ended up living a long and happy life in our household, making our days so much brighter. This book reminded me of her, taking me back if only for a moment to my childhood when my beloved Pugsy was alive. When the writing is this good, the mind travels through space and time and the heart follows.
There is no timetable for mourning the loss of a pet. I lost my dog Patch over four decades ago and I still think of him from time to time. A World Without Color is very well written. It's a compelling story that for many of us, unfortunately, will be able to relate to. Well worth a read for anyone who has ever lost a beloved pet.
I bought this book at launch but kept off it, because I knew it would have been an emotional rollercoaster. Bernard Jan does a marvellous job of making this story personal - not just for him, since this is indeed a true account of the end of a love story - but for ourselves, the readers, which will have to feel what he feels with a strength that's sometimes overpowering.
I won't go into the details of the story - unfortunately, it has a sad ending, albeit every good thing must come to an end - but the book is a testament about the undying love that conquers death itself. The writing is beautiful and direct, and clicks immediately.
Story and feelings aside, I love how the author touched on topics such as animal abuse, veganism, and so many others that should really be more prominent in our life, but that alas, are relegated to the random thought every now and then (unless you follow that lifestyle, which honestly, you should). His insight on the topic was always on point and never derailed form the focus of the story: crafting a testament for the love that we can share with all living beings, if we only manage to see for what they are, our brothers and sisters.
Yeah, I cried. But don't tell anyone. Buy this book, and cry in private yourself.
By Dario, October 4, 2017, published on Amazon UK, 5/5
An usually private, and honest narrative delving into the relationship between a beloved cat and a human.
This is not a "pet" story. Rather, it is a love story of a giving friendship that takes us well past the every day and into the deepest part of what makes humans and other animals emotional beings. I was unsure as I read how I felt about this, never having experienced this depth with an animal, because I grew up on a farm. You can't get too close, not ever.
Allowing the words to wash over me, the poetic rendering of war outside the windows, the departure of a writer's flowery artiface to potentially over explain a relationship was thankfully not abused and I connected to the purity of the words themselves. For some reason as I read, I was reminded of the tone of the novel, "It's a Brave, New World." The heartbreaking aspects of animal cruelty, war and a search for peace, external and internal comes into play. This is not the same genre as the book I compared it to, but the message is there. I recommend this short story to anyone who has ever lost a beloved pet, but also to the elevated reader who enjoys a story with a strong undercurrent of social responsibility and a dystopian reflection of our world, as I often view it myself.
"The intellectual superiority and developed, modern, mechanized killing systems."
By Bibiana Krall, September 28, 2017, published on Goodreads, 5/5
Book about loss of companion, and also the saddest sadness of any kind that author has experienced. All sensitive, intelligent people do feel that intensity of pain in such loss. Books like this makes you appreciate being alive and being able to feel ups and downs wave of pulse in life stream.
I'm glad that this story is a book because reading it in silence is like prayer, like tribute to this relationship and recognition that animal friends are just part of the family.
By Michael Holda, September 24, 2017, published on Goodreads, 5/5
I feel your pain, brother. My cat, Kali Durga passed a couple of years ago. I was devastated but I was glad she no longer has to endure the suffering of her last weeks. It was painful to see her suffer. I was relieved when she returned in the form of a beautiful bird to inform me she is in a peaceful place. As is often the case, it is those who are left behind after the passing of a beloved that leaves mordant cicatrixes within our compassionate and tenuous psyche.
A World Without Color is well written and reflects the author's sympathetic, empathetic and loving sensitivities towards animals and I'm sure humans alike. Kudos to Bernard Jan for his remarkable iteration of an age old relationship between pets and their owners. A compelling story that many of us can relate to.
By Yoong, August 31, 2017, published on Amazon, 5/5
Since we are all mortals, whether we humans or animals, always comes a moment that we have to leave this world. And everyone has stressful events in his life, when as leave someone dear whom we loved very much. While reading the book this sadness just affects your feelings and you simply must elicit a tear in his eye. Although the book is very sad, the writer shows us how honest love is great and when sad moments come to life. In the end, we remain the only memories and we can hope that we will in a parallel world to be together again. I would recommend the book to all animal lovers and lovers of true love.
Being a pet owner of two cats and recently nearly losing one I was able to relate to this story on another level entirely.
Life is so precious even that of our beloved animals. And Bernard Jan makes it very clear of just how precious in a way that I haven’t read before.
The beauty of this book is the true rawness, the ability to be pulled in and feel as if you were now Bernard Jan.
Reading this so close to the almost death of one of our own cats had me in tears. If you love cats you will feel this emotion as you read this incredible and wonderfully told story.
I highly recommend this book with the greatest of passions.
By Zane Summerfield, August 29, 2017, published on Amazon, 5/5
A heartfelt and eloquent tribute to a very special cat. Anyone who has ever lost a beloved pet will be able to relate. I certainly did.
By mystery lover, August 25, 2017, published on Amazon, 5/5
DO NOT READ UNLESS: you are prepared to ball your eyes out!
By Shaylee Jenkins, August 21, 2017, published on Goodreads, 4/5
Although difficult to relate, as I have never experienced such a deep and pure relationship with a pet, I was touched by these beautiful words and poetic sentences - filled with pain, sadness, but above all love. Looking forward to reading more work by this author!
By Koen Van den Eeckhout, August 20, 2017, published on Goodreads, 3/5
Such an emotional and effective read....I couldnt bring myself to read this in one go. Thats how this book cruely played with my feelings! To make thinks worse the author portraits you as his dieing cat
Giving you the sence of the cats pain and misery..This book really gave me a heartache..Even though I never owned a cat..after this book I needed to go out for along walk with my Golden retrevier....
The author made a brilliant job at sucking you into the book at page 1!
The world mr.Jan built is claery visible and heartaching...
You feel what he felt!
Gladly I cant cry to books..But if I could...I totallly would!
This book is incredibly well written the only reason i gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is purely down to how hard and upsetting it was to read which is just a credit to how well it was written. Unfortunately it was that upsetting to read i nearly struggled to sit and carry on which is why i had to knock it down a star. Well worth a read if you feel as though you are up to it.
By Justin, August 11, 2017, published on Goodreads, 4/5
A special thanks to Mischenko and Starjustin. After reading both their deeply moving reviews- I wanted to purchase this book for our younger daughter who has two cats. (...) In this short story we are witness to a beautiful love story between a cat and his owner and the family they are a part of. Gut wrenching loss when death comes. Rest In Peace Marcel....
By Elyse, August 6, 2017, read the whole review on Goodreads, 5/5
"Your presence in my life is like a room filled with lamps. When you're gone, the brightest, the prettiest one will go out. And leave behind the half-light of unclear shadows."
You could almost hear John Donne speaking so reverently and adoring to his lover in endearing terms. Metaphysics. This eulogy is full of love and sadly, a lot of heartache. It is written beautifully in such a poetic style to help us to empathise with the author over a difficult three day period in which his pet died. For animal lovers, attached to their pets it will be easy to identify with the emotional horror of seeing a sick animal dying, being helpless to do anything other than watch the angel of death end his suffering: "I knew I would stay with you until the end, that we would spend life together."
It began for Marcel, nicknamed Pipo when "the air was screaming with a siren alarm" with the rocket attacks in Zagreb when the kitten was discarded and unwanted, "sentenced to death immediately after birth." Marcel and his siblings were tormented by local thugs who poured water over the kittens to kill them. Fortunately, there were animal lovers and the kittens were rescued. Jan became infatuated with this beautiful little ball of fur who gave him pleasure and amusement for 14 years 8 months and 27 days. Marcel united the family and gave meaning to Jan's life. He eulogises Marcel's worth using a string of meaningful words that perhaps you would associate with the best of mankind, words ranging from incorruptibility to benevolence to purity. Hyperbole like Donne or simple adulation? After all there is a natural affinity between man and beast.
It is April, photos are taken, fond memories are reflected on as one very sick animal drifts inevitably to his final curtain and so doing, Jan states that the world will lose its colour and "darken like the land of Mordar." Jan fell apart; he felt as if he had killed his precious animal and was left feeling guilty and full of remorse. His mother, also devastated like his father, pestered the author to write about Marcel so that his memory would live on through the power of his own writing. He certainly succeeded in doing that. Interesting, Jan decided to write two endings to this true story: one genuine, the other fictional.
Death never arrives easy. Here, Bernard Jan chronicles the final stage in the life of a cat named Marcel, as Bernard, his family, and Marcel face Marcel’s death. The capacity for the depth of bond in an interspecies way has always amazed me. This has been illustrated to me very recently with the death of my own cat, Poppy. She was the runt of the litter, not meant to survive, smaller than my undersized palm when she arrived, but she lived for just about twenty-five years. I relay my story because this short book reflects the dilemmas and conflicted emotions faced when dealing with, and having ultimate responsibility for, the final breath of a creature greatly loved.
For anyone who has had a feline presence in their life and then said goodbye to it, this account of not just the final times of Marcel but of the dedication, regrets, and sadnesses surrounding such an event, will be instantly recognisable. One aspect that stood out to me was the formidable determination of Marcel’s character, that in the face of illness the push to extract every comfort and affection life still had to offer strongly remained. This echoed Poppy’s battling and embracing personality, where the mask over her struggles remained because she wanted to be with the people she loved more than feel her pain. How lucky we are to have these raw and awkwardly pure relationships. Five stars because I read this at just the right time.
If you're looking for a sad story then this is for you. (...) I felt that I was Bernard at the end of the book, I love books that pull me in and make me feel that I'm part of the book. You'll have to read it for yourself to experience this. Minus a few parts that I had to reread this is a great book to read and you can sure see why Bernard is an animal lover. Warning it will make you cry and if you love cats this might be a painful but powerful read. Highly Recommend!
By Angel Ramon Medina, indie author and leader of the Hybrid Nation, July 21, 2017, read the whole review on The Hybrid Nation, 4.8/5
When I started reading A World Without Color, from the very first few sentences I knew what it would be like and I was very emotional from beginning to end. (...) I am a cat owner and found myself identifying with the authors feelings and grieving process. I am not sure why more have not taken the time to experience this book and I see that many have marked it to read.
The author says to Marcel "you are here, you exist beside me, and I am grateful for your life." Very heart-wrenching in his thoughts to Marcel. "You represent what is worthy and should be fought for: you are a symbol of incorruptibility, benevolence, innocence, purity, kindness, sincerity, selflessness, goodness, friendship, and love, qualities that should inhabit every corner of this planet. If 'we' were all like you, we wouldn't need redemption." Such powerful words to write.
I loved this book and I highly recommend it to all to read.
By Starjustin, July 19, 2017, read the whole review on Goodreads, 5/5
I found this book on Goodreads this morning after reading one of Bernard Jan’s blog posts and it sounded like a must read. As a person who has many pets, I sometimes think about what it’ll be like when the time comes to let them go. I wonder when, how, and what sort of choices I’ll have to make. In this book, the author tells his whole story about what his cat Marcel’s last 3 days were like interlaced with memories of the past. He writes about the effects of losing a best friend for himself and his family.
At multiple times I cried and could feel his emotions. He expresses what he’s feeling physically, his thoughts and emotions, everything so raw and real. Despite the sadness, I love the way this author writes.
The events Bernard Jan experiences are something no pet owner wants to endure. Every once in awhile you read a book by an author and you wish you could give them a hug. This is that book…
If you have ever owned and faced the death of a pet, lived through the agony of knowing that 'it is time,' or, if you have a heart, live and breathe, grab some tissues, just in case. Bernard Jan has taken a piece of his own heart and soul and put down in words, his feelings, his thoughts, and the utter devastation of the raw loss of his beloved pet.
Short, powerful, honest and heart-wrenching, Bernard Jan has only written what most of us cannot express, the pain of the loss of a pet. That pain is real and it can crush the soul. Beautifully written, in just a few words, Bernard Jan has given voice to everyone who has experienced his same loss.
As a cat lover, I had to check out this short read. This is a love story. It’s not a romance. Nevertheless, it’s a story about a powerful, moving, enduring love. It’s all the more meaningful as it is a true story. Cat lovers will see their own experiences and feelings mirrored here. This story is an intense testament to the bond humans feel with our pets.
Bernard Jan describes the life of his beloved cat with such poignancy. His writing style is straightforward and emotionally moving. Happier times with Marcel brought a smile to my lips, while his deteriorating decline brought tears to my eyes. Most moving of all was the author’s profound love, devotion, and grief for his cat. Our pets live, love, and pass on, but they live forever in our hearts.
A World Without Color illuminates how our pets are as dear to us as a beloved brother, mother or friend. The tale is poetic, heartfelt and unique. I was pleased to read such a fine story by a talented, compassionate author. Blessed be, Marcel.
This short book is the deeply-felt and well-written account of the love and interdependence between a man and his companion animal. All those who have had a pet, and there are many of us, know that the time comes when the last kindness we can give them is to ease their journey out of the world. Here, we see the heart-breaking decision and the lonely aftermath sensitively portrayed. Many will recognise these feelings.
By Kath Middleton, author and e-book reviewer, www.kathmiddletonbooks.com, March 19, 2017