Jessamyn Smyth's linked "Dog and Cecily" stories are about the primacy of the relationship with the animal-familiar spirit, its terrible costs and devastating beauties, the absurd and funny awkwardness of the human species, the relentless deepening of love, the bearing witness to unbearable loss.
These beautiful, unusual stories honor a figure from Japanese folklore, the inugami -- a dog god that acts as a protective guardian. Individuals bonded with this familiar spirit are called inugami mochi; they are thought to be lucky and successful, but as a result of their extraordinary bond with the dog god, they are isolated from ordinary people and the lives they lead.
"Jessamyn Smyth's short story "A More Perfect Union" made me laugh and twanged my tear ducts all at the same time as it impressed me with the sheer brilliance of the writing. That's the kind of writer she is. Oh, and she is a lover of dogs and of human beings, separately, and even more, together. And a connoisseur of what women want in life."
-- Alicia Ostriker, author of The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog.
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The Inugami Mochi