Cat's Cradle

Trying to figure out what a cat is thinking is a bit like trying to predict the weather. Sure, it looks like he's dreaming of salmon or catnip or birds. But then again, the sky looked calm and clear when we went to bed last night and now the wind is howling and it's spitting snow.

With cats, you never can tell. And they like it that way. They're a 185 I.Q. wrapped in an adorable package. A fickle friend. A furry muse.

Which is why they're so transfixing to look at, especially in Marcie Jan Bronstein's new book, "Best Seat in the House: Cats in Their Windows." It's a follow-up to last year's sweet success "I'll Wait in the Car: Dogs Along for the Ride," and it promises to be every bit as engaging — not to mention gorgeous.

Bronstein is a Belfast-based fine art photographer who hand-paints her photographs for a richer, more color-saturated look. The resulting images have a feel that is at once nostalgic and thoroughly modern. And when cats are the subject, so much the better.

Bronstein spent months photographing cats in their windows — and, cats being cats, some days, there were no felines to be found. They don't pose. They have little patience. As Bronstein writes, "Cats are like actors who really want to be directors. And to their credit, that, in all honesty, is what they are. ... I may have had my ideas and intentions, but in the end, I was at the mercy of the cats."

Aren't we all. Lucky for us, Bronstein persevered. And her book has us purring.

"Best Seat in the House" is available at bookstores or on Amazon. For a preview of photographs in the book, visit Bronstein's Web site here. The author will also sign copies of her book from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, at the Camden Public Library. For more information about that signing, call 236-3440.


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