The Cat Who Saved Books (本を守ろうとする猫の話) by Sōsuke Natsukawa (translated by Louise Heal Kawai) is a fantastical story about books, cats, and those who love them. Mr. Natsukawa livins in Nagano, Japan where he is a practicing doctor, as well as an award winning author.
- 208 pages
- Publisher : Picador
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 1529081475
Who doesn’t love books about books?
This novel is a short fable, a feel-good story which was a nice read especially during this time of year. The Cat Who Saved Books by Sōsuke Natsukawa talks of books possessing great powers, not just scraps of paper. They are filled with human thoughts, as well as being endowed with a soul.
There are several short books celebrating aspects of humanity (The Alchemist comes to mind), but this one seemed overly simplistic, without much in between the lines. I wonder if something got lost in translation, as I was waiting for the charm which distinguishes such books from the rest, but it never appeared.
The translations worked well when capturing the sadness of the protagonist at his darkest hour, as well as the sarcasm and aloofness of Tiger (the talking cat). The balance between the sadness, loneliness, and whimsical storytelling is certainly within the pages.
As a bibliophile, I especially wanted to love this book. A book celebrating the importance of books, reading, as well as human interactions.
We all know what it’s like to drown in a beloved book. And many of us spend a significant amount of time trying to find that “next great read”. However, at some point we also have to put the book down and acknowledge the world around us. This is especially true during times of despair, the cat is pushing Renato to find the balance between his internal life, and his neglected external life.
The novel celebrates the love for books, but also celebrates life. One must have both, living and reading, not to fall into despair.
The grandfather of high-school student Rintaro Natsuke has died. Preparing to close the doors for the secondhand bookstore his grandfather ran for years, Rintaro meets a strange, talking cat who claims to be named “Tiger”.
Tiger claims that he needs Rintaro’s help freeing books which are kept as prisoners by their demented owners. The strange duo, along with class president Miss. Sayo Yuzuki, meets a man who lets his books perish on a bookshelf, a book torturer who cuts the pages out of books to help people speed read, and a publisher who only wants to create bestsellers.
Zohar — Man of la Book
Disclaimer: I got this book for free
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