Title: The Guest Cat
Author: Takashi Hiraide
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
My rating: ★★★✫✫
I have picked The Guest Cat up in a bookstore at King’s Cross in London. I fell for the titel and the cover, because of the cat and the green eyes that are a bit shiny. A novel about a cat sounds good to me. The cover is also full of great reviews.
What the book is about
A bestseller in France and winner of Japan s Kiyama Shohei Literary Award, The Guest Cat, by the acclaimed poet Takashi Hiraide, is a subtly moving and exceptionally beautiful novel about the transient nature of life and idiosyncratic but deeply felt ways of living. A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo; they work at home, freelance copy-editing; they no longer have very much to say to one another. But one day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. It leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. Soon they are buying treats for the cat and enjoying talks about the animal and all its little ways. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife the days have more light and color. The novel brims with new small joys and many moments of staggering poetic beauty, but then something happens .
What I think about the book
To be honest, I was a little disappointed by this book. That doesn’t mean it is technically bad or that the story isn’t good. I just don’t like the writing style and the short chapters. I think this is a cultural thing. The Guest Cat was written in Japan and some chapters just describe a short matter or a flower in the garden for example. Of course that could be very poetic, but it is not what I am searching for in a book.
There was something missing for me. I didn’t get the feeling that I got to know the author and his wife. The fact that he keeps referring to his wife as ‘his wife’ instead of writing down her name for example. It feels very distant to me. I am a very emotional woman and I want to get to know the main characters. I want to know what they are feeling and what moves them. For me, that was missing in this novel.
I did finish the book, hoping that it would get better. I just can’t put a book down halfway through, because I always want to make sure that I am not missing anything. For me this wasn’t as good as I thought it could be. Now I am just moving on to the next novel.