Read the World: Japan

I’m not sure why I picked up The Travelling Cat Chronicles, it’s not my usual thing and I’m not even a cat person, but I have been wanting to read more translated work, so there is that. I found it a charming and moving tale about saying goodbye, partly narrated by a cat.

We cats get all limp and squishy when we have catnip; for humans, wine seems to do the trick.

Nana is a stray, sleeping on the streets (or on top of Satoru’s silver van) when he is involved in a road accident. Kind Satoru takes him in and tends him back to health. When given the choice, Nana decided not to go back to his old life, despite his fierce independence. Fast forward an undisclosed number of years, and Satoru is seeking a new home for his beloved cat. He’s not able to take him where he is going.

When an animal’s life is over, it rests where it falls, and it often seems to me that humans are such worriers, to think of preparing a place for people to sleep when they are dead. If you have to consider what’s going to happen after you die, life becomes doubly troublesome.

Nana’s voice is typical cat, he’s a bit sarcastic and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. He doesn’t seem impressed by the people Satoru’s considering for his new home. Part road trip, the story goes from one old friend to another, each time coming to the conclusion that it’s not quite right for Nana. It’s almost as if neither human or cat want to part.

The non-cat-narration tells the stories of how Sartoru got to know each person, their childhood history. This tales also shed light on the person Sartoru is today, and unfailingly kind and lovely individual, loved by all who knew him. It’s not hard to guess what is happening but it’s all about the interactions, and the smart arse cat.

My story will be over soon. But it’s not something to be sad about. As we count up the memories from one journey, we head off on another. Remembering those who went ahead. Remembering those who will follow after. And someday, we will meet all those people again, out beyond the horizon.

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Book Source: Purchased