LEOPARD IN THE CITY is a fable for those longing to escape the urban tangle and return home to nature. Illustrated with over 45 black and white photographs, it tells the tale of a leopard, a real leopard of the jungle, who suddenly finds himself in the center of a modern Western metropolis, having to negotiate the rigid grid of streets.
If seen, even by a single human being, he knows his fate would be sealed—either with a bullet through his heart or the sting of a tranquilizer gun, followed by a lifetime behind bars at the city zoo.
And who can say which would be worse? In the zoo he would live out his days being gawked at as the famous mystery leopard from who-knows-where, the wild beast everybody read about in the newspapers that disrupted life in the city and then was caught.
The longing for freedom leads him to the task of learning the ways of human beings, hoping that by understanding them he can discover a loophole, a way out. He figures out that long before human beings domesticated cats and dogs, they domesticated themselves. That’s how they built their cities: by taming their own wild nature. They demand no less of whoever would live in their midst.
Should he give up the dream of escape and follow the path of domestication as laid out by housecats, whose ancestors sacrificed their wild nature for security? Is it true, as the housecats would have it, that the way to salvation is captivity, to be free is to accept subjugation, and that safety is to be found not in liberty, but in confinement? Is it better to enjoy the comfortable fate of the housecat and live a privileged life of leisure with a secure place by the fire?
What he needs—is a miracle.
While the city in which these events unfold is imaginary and could be any modern metropolis, LEOPARD IN THE CITY is richly illustrated with photographs from the city of Vienna.
And though the city is found on no map, can we say for certain that the leopard is also but a figment of someone’s imagination?
Who knows—he could be you or me.