06 Dec / She and Her Cat by Makoto Shinkai and Naruki Nagakawa, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori [in Booklist]
Multiple shes and cats populate this gratifying, slim novel-in-stories, which arrives with a decades-long history that undoubtedly underscores its timeless appeal. Makoto Shinkai launched his career as one of Japan’s most lauded animation and manga artists with the five-minute film, She and Her Cat (1999), later expanded into beloved, award-winning anime and manga series. Shinkai’s stories are now adapted into a gentle prose novel by Naruki Nagakawa and smoothly translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori.
In four interlinked chapters, each prefaced by a gorgeously intricate black-and-white drawing by Rohan Eason, lonely women find lifesaving company with feline companions. Miyu discovers a kitten in the pouring rain, her anxious isolation as a single (over-) working woman assuaged by Chobi’s devotion. Chobi’s furry new friend Mimi eventually becomes student Reina’s greatest comfort. Mimi’s daughter Cookie helps shut-in Aoi, who is mourning for her late best friend, re-enter the outside world. Reigning tomcat king Kuro reluctantly allows Shino to take adoring care of him in their golden years.
A satisfying epilogue connects everyone. The greatest humanity, of course, is found in the complex, caring, and insightful four-footed characters.
Published: 2013 (Japan), 2022 (United States)