Mary Norton’s 1952 children’s novel, The Borrowers, describes a family of small people who live beneath the floorboards of an English country house, subsisting on what they surreptitiously take from the oblivious “human beans” that live above them. Neither fairies nor entirely human, they live a friendly, parasitical relationship with the oblivious giants in their midst. Arrietty is a pretty animated version from Japan, a culture well-versed in miniaturism and stories of hidden entities that live around us. The result is an intriguing hybrid, mixing a Japanese reverence for nature (a raindrop shimmering on a leaf is a visual haiku) with quaint Victorian architecture and a story featuring contemporary, Caucasian-looking Japanese characters speaking in American accents.
Lucie (Queen's Square Library)