She and Her Cat: Stories

S. & S. Audio. Nov. 2022. tr. from Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori. 4:08 hrs. ISBN 9781797151670. $17.99. F
Director and screenwriter Shinkai produced the popular short film She and Her Cat in 1999. The award-winning anime series that grew out of the film is presented here by screenwriter and novelist Nagakawa as a series of short stories. An impressive ensemble of narrators, including Winson Ting, Julia Strowski, Jacqui Bardelang, Hana Teraie-Wood, and Nile Faure-Bryan exquisitely convey the warmth, friendship, and love shared between cats and their owners—a loosely used term, since cats are clearly the real owners. The interconnected stories depict the alternating perspectives of the felines and their women owners. Despairing Mimi is found on a stormy night beside a local train, while proud, feral Kuro deliberates about whether he wants an owner and home. John, a congenial dog, oversees all the neighborhood’s cats and shares his own experience and wisdom. Each narrator deftly creates believable distinct cat “voices” and their humorous personalities. The well-rendered women’s voices range from angry and frustrated to confident and independent, while details about their past lives add dimension and humanity.
VERDICT Each story in this charming collection flows naturally, conveying how owners and their pets understand and nurture each other. The outstanding audio production brings listeners the same audience intimacy as a well-performed play.
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