– Takashi Hiraide
Published: 2014, Pan Macmillan
A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo. They work at home as freelance writers. They no longer have very much to say to one another.
One day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. She is a beautiful creature. She leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. New, small joys accompany the cat; the days have more light and colour. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife; they go walking together, talk and share stories of the cat and its little ways, play in the nearby Garden. But then something happens that will change everything again.
The Guest Cat is an exceptionally moving and beautiful novel about the nature of life and the way it feels to live it.
This was a weird book for me. Takashi Hiraide is a poet, and I think you can really tell – the words in this book just flowed seamlessly. I’ve never actually read a Japanese book, so I found it interesting to read about this person, their culture and the every day life.
It read like a memoir really, with the first person narration recalling life and events within the certain time period. Honestly, as I was reading, it seemed to me like the book wasn’t really going anywhere. It was slow, and didn’t have much ‘action’, but the words were so lovely that I was constantly hooked. I loved seeing the relationships develop. The style of writing was really different for me, and whilst it’s not something I would read constantly, this book was refreshing and a nice change from what I usually read.
The couple fall in love with a seemingly stray cat that starts to visit their home. This cat visits every night, and they start to form a bond. Throughout this story, Hiraide gives us some valuable lessons on life, love and companionship an I think the way he delivers his messages is subtle – so much that it’s something that slowly sinks in the more you read.
I felt better after reading this. Although I wasn’t so keen on what happened, it was still a feel good book for me.
My Rating – To see my book review rating guide click here.