Review of 'The Travelling Cat Chronicles'

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

travelling_cat.jpg Satoru, a single man living in Tokyo, adapts a stray, rather independent, cat who he names Nana (the cat's tale is shaped like a “7” which, in Japanese, is “nana”). Nana reminds him of a cat he had when growing up with similar markings. The story follows Satoru as he visits various friends and family to try to convince them to take his beloved Nana into their homes (it is only later in the book that we learn why). Nana offers her thoughts on the various goings on including her enjoyment of the trip itself in Satoru's van…a trip of a lifetime! The bond is strong between cat and owner…

A pleasant, touching read with a somewhat predictable ending. It takes a bit to get used to the narrative being told by a cat but certainly lightens up the tone from what could be quite a gloomy read. The prose is easy to read but, perhaps due to the translation, does often tend to be extremely melodramatic and using more words than are necessary.

The story of “The Travelling Cat Chronicles” is quite sad but the highlight is the characters we meet along the way: The loner friend from school, the couple running a B&B that allows pets, the aunt that took the young Satoru in when he was orphaned by the loss of his parents etc. It is through them we are able to piece together the rather tragic story of Satoru's life and understand the depth of his feelings for his companion. Of Satoru himself we learn of his compassion and kindness as he easily befriends those that are marginalised by society.

“The Travelling Cat Chronicles” is a wonderful, light, read and reflects on the meaning of life and the impact we have on those around us. It is also an ode to cat lovers everywhere…

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2020-02-09

Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 2017

ISBN: 9780857524188