I love cats. I love translated Japanese fiction. So of course I was excited to read The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa. My boyfriend bought me 4 Japanese cat books for last Christmas (including the original classic that inspired them all) and I’ve been reading through them in publication order. I only have one left now! But today, we’re talking about Travelling Cat.
In this book we’re following a cat named Nana (because his tail is hooked like the number 7, which is “nana” in Japanese) on a road trip with his beloved owner Satoru. They’re travelling across Japan visiting Satoru’s old friends, but Nana doesn’t know why and Satoru won’t say. Despite that they’re just enjoying the time together, seeing the sights and Nana meeting these people.
This book is told both from the cat’s perspective in first person, and also in the third person when looking at flashbacks of Satoru’s life and learning more about his relationship with these people he’s driving to see. I really enjoyed the mix here as Nana get’s a really unique perspective to read from, often apart from Satoru, and the divide also helps to keep the flashbacks clear from the present day sections of the novel.
This book is absolutely gorgeous, completely heart breaking, and as I said in the title of this post I wept like a damn baby as I was finishing up this book. In some ways, it’s a predictable ending. And I’ve seen some people criticising the book for that. But for me it was about getting to know these characters over time and coming to feel for them. So perhaps a better choice for character based readers rather than plot based?
On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 10, Atmosphere: 9, Writing: 9, Plot: 10, Intrigue: 9, Logic: 10, and Enjoyment: 10 giving an average score of 9.57 and, of course, a 5* rating!
Highlight here for trigger warnings: animal death, cancer, car accident, death of loved ones, miscarriage, misogyny.
I’m so very glad I read this book. It’s a perfect book for any cat lover, but also just animal lovers in general! Have you read any cat/animal based books? I’d love more recommendations!