Five short stories center on women in their thirties and forties and their relationships with men, and also feature pet cats or dogs in important roles. The women stand at fateful crossroads in their lives, with their pets at their side.
In the title story the 36-year-old narrator, Sachiko, has been in a steady relationship with a man her own age for three years. He's good-looking, with a sunny personality, and has a stable, well-paying job: she would like to marry him. But when he cheats on her for a second time she decides it's over. Two weeks later, now living alone, she acquires the cat she had long wanted. Responding to a classified ad placed by an elderly couple whose cat had a litter of five, she selects one of the males and names it Rolo. Caring for the cat quickly comes to consume her, dominating her thoughts even when she is at work. "Rolo is the happiness I've longed for. He makes me happy just by being there. It doesn't work that way with men." Then she agrees to take the last kitten in the litter as well, a female that nobody else has been willing to take, and names her Mimi. But the difference in this kitten's personality starts to drive her up a wall. The sweet and docile Rolo listens and learns when admonished, but Mimi remains uncooperative and never stops clamoring to be fed . . . The author's eye for the telling detail in human nature?especially the female side of it?is also brought to bear on the nature of cats and dogs, as she paints picture-perfect descriptions of their mannerisms in this delightful collection of bittersweet gems.