If you enjoy science fiction, I'm sure you've read Heinlein. But if you haven't, then get started! However, don't make this your first Heinlein book. This story links to (probably) a dozen Heinlein stories, and if you haven't read at least some of them, you'll be lost before long.
If you are familiar with "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress", "Time Enough For Love", "Stranger In A Strange Land" and "The Number Of The Beast", add this to your reading list and enjoy!
Many sci-fi fans consider Heinlein to be one of the genre's luminaries. That may be deserved, with titles like "Stranger in a Strange Land," "Have Spacesuit Will Travel" and "The Man Who Sold the Moon," but if this were the first Heinlein novel I had read, it would have been my last.
As books go, this one has all the things you're supposed to avoid. Pointless, gratuitous and unerotic sex? Check. Meandering story, resulting from an incoherent plot that never really goes anywhere? Check. Unresolved mysteries? Check. Self-indulgent asides and self-references? Check. While he manages to avoid the appalling racism of "The Fifth Column" and the equally reprehensible sexism of "Friday," the writer in this book fails to deliver anything that is worth reading.
Serious devotees of Heinlein's writing will enjoy the tie-ins to "Time Enough for Love" and "Number of the Beast," but for those looking to discover for themselves why Heinlein remains so popular today, or merely working their way through the science fiction collection, this is a book best skipped.
Stephen E. (xen) reviewed The Cat Who Walks Through Walls: A Comedy of Manners on
One of the Grandmaster's finest. Part detective novel, part sci-fi adventure novel, all Heinlein, all fun. If you love Heinlein, you'll love this book. If you don't love Heinlein, you'll love this book... and what's wrong with you, anyway? A sci-fi fan who doesn't love Heinlein is like a candy lover that doesn't love chocolate. You're just a bit off.
I consider this the finest of his 80's novels. While I enjoyed all of his late era works, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls can be enjoyed by Heinlein afficianados and neophytes alike. More fast paced than To Sail Beyond the Sunset, better than Friday or Job, "The Cat" is one of his finest works.
I will say, it might help if you have read "Time enough for Love" and "The Number of the Beast", as "The Cat" shares many of the same characters in the latter part of the novel.
For background on the character Gwen (Hazel Stone), read "The Rolling Stones", one of Heinlein's finest juveniles.
The Cat Who Walks Through Walls is like Alien Vs. Predator. Heinlein devotees will like it, but it is short on literary merit. We delight to revisit the world of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, with a bit of who-dunnit thrown in, but after a little while we end up meeting characters from other works in a heavily meta-literary setting, that is just a bit much. So if you like Heinlein this book is fun, but it falls short of the majesty of Moon, and the innocent wonder of a work like Have Spacesuit Will Travel. Good, but not great.