THE TRAVELLING CAT CHRONICLES(Berkley) by Hiro Arikawa has been translated into English. It’s a little whimsical gem of a book, that I hope isn’t missed by readers. It could be read like a “cat story,” but it’s oh, so much more.
Saturo, an orphan with no girlfriend, friends or career bonds with Nana, a five year-old stray street cat. Nana daily shows up on his truck, where Saturo leaves food, until Nana’s hit by a car and nearly killed. Nana uses his last breath to drag himself to Saturo’s home where he meows so loudly, Saturo comes outside. Immediately he takes the injured cat to a veterinarian.
Nana soon finds himself recovering inside Saturo’s home, complete with a litter box (which he figures out) regular meals and love. He comes to enjoy the amenities. Once Nana is well, Saturo decides he has to give him away, but he won’t just put him back out on the street. Saturo contacts old friends he hasn’t been in contact with for years. He rekindles relationships with people who he once held special, hoping they can adopt Nana. But Saturo doesn’t find anyone suitable to take Nana.
The narrative alternates between Saturo and Nana. This description may sound trite to some, but it’s much more. It’s an allegory embracing friendship and how we treat people and animals. The tale focuses on loyalty, our basic need for companionship and our ability to comfort others.
Cats hold a special place in Japanese culture and literature. They frequently are elevated to gods and capable of bringing blessings and anyone who honors them. How many Japanese restaurants have you gone to and noticed a little white porcelain cat waving his paw?
There aren’t many adult novels narrated by a pet. THE TRAVELLING CAT CHRONICLES made me think of THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN by Garth Stein. That novel is narrated by a dog named Enzo. I’m personally a dog person. I’ve written about my shih tzus numerous times in this post. After reading THE TRAVELLING CAT CHRONICLES, I think I’m going to look at cats differently.
Thanks to Berkley Books, we’re offering a copy of THE TRAVELLING CAT CHRONICLES book to one lucky winner. Just tell us your thoughts about friendship. We’ll announce a winner soon. Good luck.
GIVEAWAY: USA only please.