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Cats in the Sun    by Hans Silvester order for
Cats in the Sun
by Hans Silvester
Order:  USA  Can
Chronicle, 1995 (1993)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Hans Silvester tells us that the Greeks are 'at the heart of this book' and that in the Greek Cyclades Islands 'Cats are an inseparable part of everyday life: they have always been there, like the wind, the sun, the sea, day, and night.'

Sounds like a feline paradise, and that perspective is reinforced by superb photographs that show cats with varying backdrops - different textures and patterns, in sunlight and in shadow. The author gives a fascinating dissertation on the role of cats in confined spaces, telling us that 'the ancient link between human, cat, and rodent still exists in the islands' and of cats' important role on shipboard in past centuries, dealing with rats. He says they have 'played a shaping role in world history' and tells us that 'To live in harmony with their environments and enjoy the pleasure of life - such seems to be a cat's whole raison d'Ítre.'

The pictures themselves show small cats (mostly tabbies and black cats) all over these hilly Greek island villages - lazing on whitewashed steps, perched on flat roofs, on cobblestones, or dwarfed by arched entrances. They lave themselves or bask in the sun. We see them socializing and playing with others of their kind. Some even snuggle up to dogs. There are queens with kittens. Cats run and leap, or chase their prey. They live their own lives, which seem to be content ones. Any catlover will love to look at these gorgeous photos of Cats in the Sun, and will be tempted to travel to the Cyclades to see their reality.

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