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A Rare Vintage

The Cat Whisperer

Fall/Winter 2012

  • The French Cat

    Rachel Hale

    Rachel Hale’s lovely coffee table book, The French Cat takes the reader on a photographic tour of France and its feline inhabitants. As a new immigrant to France from New Zealand, Hale embarked on a photographic ethnography employing no studio, additional lighting or Photoshop. Through her effervescent photographs, Hale reveals the culture, personality, beauty, and quirkiness of the country, its people, and their cats. From graveyard strays napping on ancient tombstones to indoor chateau cats with their own library to recline in, Hale leaves no feline unnoticed, even resorting to camping out for hours with treats and toys to get her shot. Each photograph reveals the cat’s personality and, along with it, the character of the surroundings. In the accompanying narrative, Hale details her move to France describing how this project helped her integrate into the French way of living and learn the language. Hale explains the stories behind some of the memorable and elusive cats she documented, imbuing each image with yet more life. With quotes from famous French authors, artists, poets, and playwrights, Hale intersperses the narrative and photographs with tidbits revealing how cats have influenced French life and art.—LE

  • The Life and Love of Cats

    Lewis Blackwell

    Lewis Blackwell knows firsthand how cat lovers feel about cats, but in his upcoming book The Life and Love of Cats, he tries to determine just what cats think of us. Using a juxtaposition of photography, poetry, and prose, Blackwell endeavours to capture the creature we call cat. The nine chapters of this photo-book cover the cat’s evolution, their enhanced senses, the history of feline domestication and their un-domesticated wild side, breeds, the allure of cuteness, the healing power of cats, the superstitions surrounding the infamous black cat, and the mythology behind a cat’s supposed multiple lives. Interesting facts and history are interwoven with quotes from famous cat enthusiasts and accompanied by striking photography of felines of every breed, shape, and age. The images contemplate cats from every perspective, from macro shots of dazzling cat eyes to body-length profiles showing off the feline silhouette, leaving no angle ignored. We will probably never truly know what our cats think of us, but this book offers an intriguing window into the minds of our feline companions.—LE

  • Julia’s Cats

    Patricia Barey and Therese

    This charming and delightful book chronicles the many cats that filled the incomparable Julia Child’s home and personal life. Appropriately, it is Julia’s cats that take center stage (as any self respecting cat would have it) while the more familiar story of her rise to culinary fame unfolds in the background. Based on letters sent by Julia and her husband Paul, along with a few original interviews with Julia Child herself, the book traces the beginnings of Julia’s feline love affair, beginning with her adoption of French cat Minette, procured to help with the mouse problem in the Child’s Parisienne apartment. While in Paris, Julia’s obsession with cooking is ignited and Minette is her cooking companion, there to taste test and help clean up any cream spillage—in French cooking this a real hazard. When Julia and Paul build a house in Provence, Julia attracts a succession of cats, all with wonderful franglais names like Minimouche, Minouche, le Petit Prince, Whiskey-Minoir, and Minimere. The couple travel back and forth between France and the States while Julia films her cooking show, with Provence and its cats acting as a reprieve from her busy American life. In the early ‘80s, Julia and Paul move back to the States permanently and, though Julia doesn’t adopt another “pouiseiquette,” as she called them, until 2003 at age 91, her love of cats endured. The stories recounted, which mostly revolve around Julia’s various cats and of course bits of news and gossip, reveal a side of Julia and her relationship with Paul passed over by previous books, biographies, and interviews, making Julia’s Cats an intriguing read. It would have been Julia’s 100th birthday this August and this book is a great way to celebrate.—LE

  • Unsaid

    Neil Abramson

    Captivating and suspenseful, Neil Abramson’s moving debut novel is a hard one to put down. When Helena, an animal-loving veterinarian passes on, leaving behind her grief-stricken husband, David, and their family of dogs, cats, and other animals on their small hobby farm, she is possessed with frightening doubts and serious misgivings about how she conducted her life and veterinary practice, afraid that it was “meaningless, error ridden, and forgettable.” As a result, her spirit lingers and she becomes the silent observer to a gripping drama, one in which David, an attorney, is faced with a life-changing decision—whether or not to take on an animal rights case that is outside his usual area of legal practice. The case involves Cindy, a chimpanzee who his late wife taught sign language, enabling Cindy to communicate with humans. With Cindy scheduled for another research project, one that would surely take her life, David must call on his legal expertise and everything he learned from Helena in order to save her. In so doing, he uncovers facts about Helena previously unbeknownst to him and which he—and Helena—must come to terms with in the ensuing courtroom battle. With its profound and moving message of just how little we know and understand about our animal brethren until we learn how to truly listen, this novel brings to light the “beauty and redemptive power of human-animal relationship and the true meaning of communication in all if its diverse forms.” Read this book! I loved it.—CW

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