Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: THE GUEST CAT, by Takashi Hiraide

The Guest Cat, by Takashi Hiraide. Published 2014 by New Directions. Literary Fiction. Translated from the Japanese.

The Guest Cat is a poetic, short read about a couple living in a rented Tokyo house who become attached to a neighbor's cat. The husband narrates; he and his wife have rented a small house on a large estate in a quiet, bucolic corner of Tokyo and get along well with their elderly landlords who live in a large house on the property. Into their lives comes padding a cat who becomes a friend, an enjoyed and appreciated free spirit who chooses to spend some of its time with them.

The couple have no children and enjoy a quiet life of working from home on intellectual-type livelihoods; the cat is a welcome distraction and enriches the little nest of a home they've built together. Their relationship with their landlords and the serenity of the natural world around them complete the picture, but nothing can stay the same forever. When the elderly husband dies, they must move, but this process becomes dragged out amid the details of selling the estate and finding a new place to live. And the cat doesn't always come around. Death, a part of life, touches the couple in more ways than one, and understanding, when it comes, is bittersweet.

The Guest Cat is a sweet book that I read comfortably on a snowy afternoon earlier this month. It isn't syrupy by any stretch but has a serenity to it that was perfect for a quiet day in my own little nest. Cat lovers are the obvious audience for the book but I would recommend it to anyone looking for a little down tine with a book that often reads like a poem to nature, solitude and the life of the mind.

Rating: BUY

FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.


bermudaonion said...

Hm, we're that way about a neighbor's dog. lol This sounds good to me.

Mystica said...

I like the bit about the serenity part. Very few books leave one with that feeling.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

On my TBR list for the next month - so glad u enjoyed it. such a cute cover too.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Uh yeah, we know all about guest cats. Only they don't go back to where they came from, they just stay. This sounds like a really sweet book.

Anonymous said...

Looks good!