Mala’s Cat: A Memoir of Survival in World War II

Dreamscape Audio. Jan. 2022. 8:43 hrs. ISBN 9781666531138. $24.99. MEMOIR
Holocaust survivor Kacenberg’s suspenseful memoir comes to life through Kristin Atherton’s skillful voicing. Preteen Mala watches as life in Poland is upended by the Germans. To survive, Mala removes her yellow star and strikes out alone with a stray cat she names Malach. She performs farm and housework, sleeps in ditches, and lies about her heritage. At the war’s end, she relocates to a hostel in England, where she adjusts to life after the Holocaust. The production closes with Mala’s daughter reading a Yiddish prayer taught to her by Mala and an English translation read by the narrator. Atherton’s British accent adds punch to the crisp reading that is cool, aloof, stark, and on edge, often at the same time. The precarious nature of the times is evident in the tense, grave tone of the recording. Emotions are understated, with slight vocal nuances for character conversation. Yiddish, Hebrew, and German word pronunciations appear authentic.
VERDICT Although the recording is filled with evidence of edits, the strength of this strong story will keep listeners engaged.
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