Friday, October 26, 2018
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa is the story of a cat with a crooked tale and the human who loves him, Satoru Miyawaki, told from both of their viewpoints. Nana is a white cat with coloring on his forehead in the shape of the number 8 and a black tail that looks like the number 7 (after which he's named). He begins his life as a stray who has a particular affection for a silver van that parks in his territory. When it arrives, the hood is warm and comfy; and, it catches the warmth of the sun later in the day. Nana is proud and scrappy. He likes his life on the street.
Satoru is a cat lover who had a cat much like Nana, as a child. He's able to feed the cat and stroke him a little but can't coax the cat to go home with him. But, one day Nana is injured.
Satoru takes him to a vet to be treated and from then on, Nana becomes his companion and family. Nana adjusts to life indoors and lives with Satoru for five years. Then, one day Satoru explains that he has to find Nana a new home and this is where their travels begin. Satoru has a friend who has agreed to take in Nana and they travel to Kosuke's home. But, Satoru adores Nana and will only leave him if he feels he's found the right person for Nana to live with and he's not satisfied. They continue traveling, looking for the perfect new home for Nana.
I had a little trouble getting into The Travelling Cat Chronicles because of the premise. For much of the first half of the book, I confess I was kind of irritated that Satoru was parting with his beloved cat. What could possibly compel him to do so? I was just a little angry that he was doing such a terrible thing. And, then, about halfway into the book I figured it out. Shortly after that, the author began to drop hints and I thought, "Oh, no, this book is going to break my heart." I was so impressed, though. It could have been deeply depressing but it's uplifting and bittersweet and just flat beautiful.
Highly recommended - I've read a couple Japanese cat stories that were horribly sad but The Travelling Cat Chronicles is the opposite. It's hopeful, heartwarming, and meaningful. It reflects the deeper truth of what it is like to have a cat who is not just a pet but family and the startling love they return. A wonderful book that I recommend to anyone but especially to cat lovers.
I wanted to write about The Travelling Cat Chronicles immediately because I was so deeply moved, so Fiona Friday has been shifted to Saturday, for this week.
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