‘Last year I lost my cat Gattino. He was very young, at seven months barely an adolescent. He is probably dead but I don’t know for certain.’ So begins Mary Gaitskill’s stunning book-length essay, the closest thing she has written to a memoir. Lost Cat begins with the story of how Gaitskill rescued a stray cat in Italy and brought him to live with her in the US, where he went missing. As she explores the unexpected trauma of her loss, Gaitskill describes how she came to foster two siblings, Caesar and Natalia, a pair of inner-city children who spent summers and holidays with Gaitskill and her husband. The joys and ultimate difficulties of this relationship leads to a searing examination of loss, love, safety and fear. Gaitskill applies her razor-sharp writing to her most personal subjects yet.