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Guest Review: The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

What goes on, in the mind of a cat, and how do choose someone to take care of your pet? If you ever wondered about these things, this book is perfect for you.

About the Author

Hiro Arikawa was born on the 9th of June, 1972. Her debut novel Shio no Machi: Wish on My Precious was published in 2004, after she won the tenth annual Dengeki Novel Prize for new writers for it in 2003. Roughly 20 published works later, she wrote The Travelling Cat Chronicles.

About the book

The story first appeared in a Japanese monthly magazine. The story was then published as a novel in 2012. A picture book adaptation was published February 28, 2014. A movie is currently being made, that will release on the 26th of October, 2018.

Summary

Taken from Goodreads

Nana the cat is on a road trip. He is not sure where he’s going or why, but it means that he gets to sit in the front seat of a silver van with his beloved owner, Satoru. Side by side, they cruise around Japan through the changing seasons, visiting Satoru’s old friends. He meets Yoshimine, the brusque and unsentimental farmer for whom cats are just ratters; Sugi and Chikako, the warm-hearted couple who run a pet-friendly B&B; and Kosuke, the mournful husband whose cat-loving wife has just left him. There’s even a very special dog who forces Nana to reassess his disdain for the canine species.

But what is the purpose of this road trip? And why is everyone so interested in Nana? Nana does not know and Satoru won’t say. But when Nana finally works it out, his small heart will break…

Review

The Travelling Cat Chronicles is written from the perspective of Nana, a cat. Are the cats fighting, or is one teaching the other how to be a real cat? Many times throughout the book, we are shown that our first impressions can be very wrong.

The story doesn’t progress too quickly, so don’t expect any high intensity action. But each friend that they visit highlights once again, how fond Saturo is of animals, and how much he cares about them. Therefore, the reader can quickly conclude, that something serious must be the cause for Saturo to seek out a caretaker for Nana.

A little over half way through the book, the cause for the roadtrip, and for seeking out a caretaker, is revealed in a very interesting fashion, in case the reader hasn’t guessed it by then. That doesn’t rid us of the suspense, because now the dilemma becomes even more present, how badly Saturo races to find a new home for Nana. If you want to find out how things work out, I can warmly recommend giving this book a try. It is beautifully written, has wonderful characters, a very rare glimpse at our strange world from the point of view of an animal, and the sad ending has the potential to jerk tears from your eyes.

If you don’t mind a slightly slower pace for the book, and don’t need every story to have a happy ending, then this is a wonderful read for you. There are still plenty of heartfelt silver linings, but in the end, it does deal with our mortality.

I adored this book, and am eager to read more works by Hiro Arikawa.

Discussion

How would you find a suitable caretaker for your beloved pet?

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