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Published on: 02/16/22 5:56 AM

Book review: The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

THE TRAVELLING CAT CHRONICLES by Hiro Arikawa. Penguin Books.
For someone who doesn`t have a cat at home — or outside — I have an inordinate interest in them, fascinated by their self-containment, their attitude and their activities. So of course I had to pick up the 2017 bestseller that, just as the title says, chronicles the travels of a former stray cat named Nana around Japan.
Arikawa has given Nana a droll, sometimes sarcastic but never saccharine voice, and through Nana we see Japan in its mellow and harsh seasons, we come to know and like Satoru Miyawaki, Nana`s parent and the one who takes him on these road trips. These are not joy rides; Satoru can`t keep Nana and we soon realise why. He is attempting to place his cat in a good home with friends but Nana has other ideas.
As Satoru interacts with his childhood friends and later, with an aunt close in relation but distant by nature, we also watch human nature playing itself out, for good as well as bad.
The translation is by Philip Gabriel, best known for his translation work with Murakami, so we can be assured that nothing has been lost in translation.
The book has sold over one million copies, been made into a live-action Japanese film, and of course, received rave reviews. Read it and you will not for a moment wonder why.
cat peopleHiro ArikawaJapanThe Travelling Cat Chroniclestravels of a cat

Sheila Kumar • February 16, 2022

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