November 07, 1994 12:00 PM

by Hans Silvester

A cat’s idea of heaven must look a lot like Mykonos. At least that’s the way it appears from Cats in the Sun, a stunning volume from travel photographer Hans Silvester. On Mykonos and its sister Greek isles Milos and Naxos, there’s plenty of sun for catnapping; jungle-gym-style architecture just right for jumping; scads of fresh sardines; and, most important, locals who appreciate and feed cats but don’t demand much from them in return.

As Silvester explains in his winsome introduction, by tradition Greeks allow no pets in their homes except canaries. This has fostered a very special breed of street cat, independent without being wild. Silvester’s portfolio, shot over the course of three years, gives an intimate, unsentimental look into their community.

Against the luminous Aegean landscape we watch them frolic, fight, love and loll. There’s a lot to like about these painterly pictures. But what makes them stand out, even more than the striking composition and vibrant colors, is their sense of place. “In the Greek islands, cats are an inseparable part of everyday life,” Silvester writes. “They have always been there, like the wind, the sun, the sea, day, and night.” (Chronicle, $29.95)

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