Monday, 23 March 2015

The Guest Cat

The blurb: A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo. They work at home as freelance writers. They no longer have very much to say to one another. One day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. She is a beautiful creature. She leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. New, small joys accompany the cat; the days have more light and colour. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife; they go walking together, talk and share stories of the cat and its little ways, play in the nearby garden. But then something happens that will change everything again. The Guest Cat is an exceptionally moving and beautiful novel about the nature of life and the way it feels to live it.

Rating: 3/5 stars

This was a really nice little book. It’s not very eventful and not much happens, it’s just a short story about a couple who become quite fond of the cat who lives next door. It was lovely to read: the writing is beautifully descriptive and I could picture the settings really well. I’ve since read that the author is actually a poet and this is definitely reflected in the writing style. Because it’s only a short book, it was the perfect thing to read in between two heavier books, although it did take me a little longer to read than I thought considering the length.

The reason I’ve given it only 3 stars is that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, and I think that’s because the description is actually quite misleading. This might be down to things being lost in the translation from Japanese to English but is something to bear in mind. I chose this book thinking it was going to be all about what animals, especially cats, can bring to people’s lives, and more of an anecdotal style. This appealed to me as it was something I could really relate to having lived with, and sadly lost, a cat myself. The book is actually more of a reflection on the pace of life and human relationships with nature in general. Chibi the cat plays only quite a small part in that and, while the theme of the book is thought-provoking, I was quite disappointed having picked it up expecting something different.

I did really like the language and the tone of the writing, but I would be hesitant to recommend this one especially if you might have similar reasons for picking it up as I did. I'd love to know what you thought if you've read it!

1 comment :

  1. I picked it up for the same reasons as you, as I love cats and totally understand how they can bring happiness in to your life.. I loved it though! I lent it to my grandma and she loved it too but was upset with how it ended :(