Archive for June, 2019

I discovered Hiro Arikawa’sThe Travelling Cat Chronicles‘ through one of the members of my book club. I finally got around to reading it.

Nana is Satoru’s cat. He used to be a stray cat but one day Satoru saw Nana, fell in love with Nana, and started leaving him food. One day Nana gets injured and when Satoru notices that he takes Nana to the vet and later takes him home and nurses him back to health. And that is how Nana comes to live with Satoru.

One day Satoru takes Nana out on a long trip in his silver van. Nana loves the trip but he discovers that for some reason, Satoru visits one of his old friends and tries to leave Nana in his care. Nana creates enough problems there because of which Satoru decides that it will be too much trouble for his friend and takes Nana back. This gets repeated when Satoru visits more friends. Why does Satoru want to leave Nana at one of his friends’ places? What is the secret behind this? Does he succeed in his plan? The answers to these questions are revealed in the rest of the story.

I liked the way ‘The Travelling Cat’s Chronicles’ is structured, as a long road trip, with the story narrated by Nana and through a third person narrator through which we hear Satoru’s story. The way the story goes back and forth through time is interesting. Also the story narrated in every section of the book on how the friendship between Satoru and one of his friends started and how it evolved, is interesting to read. Nana is a cool cat with a charming voice and his observations on humans is pretty fascinating to read. The story ends with – well, I can’t tell you that. It was a little bit expected, but also a little bit unexpected. There were some interesting surprises and there were some tacked-in surprises.

I enjoyed reading ‘The Travelling Cat Chronicles‘. I loved Nana’s charming voice. Anyone who loves cats will like this.

I will leave you with some of my favourite passages from the book. Both these are narrated by Nana. Nana, like any self-respecting cat, has contempt for humans, but he also has one or two nice things to say about them. These are the nice things.

“By the way, I became really fond of the TV there. Ours at home was thin and flat like a board, but the one there was more of a box, very enticing for a cat. Plus, it was faintly warm, and made my tummy feel toasty. Fantastic in the winter, I imagined.
It is really old, Momo told me. In the past, all TVs were this shape, apparently. Going from this perfect design to an impractical flat shape is, if you ask me, a step backwards, technology-wise.”

“A huge white ship was docked beside the wharf of the harbour.
The mouth at the bow was open wide and Satoru told me that we were going to drive our van right into it. It swallowed up any number of cars into its belly and yet it didn’t sink. I must say, human really do create some amazing things.
I mean, who in the world came up with the idea of floating a huge lump of iron on top of water? Must have had a couple of screws loose, whoever it was. It stands to reason that a heavy object will sink. No other animal in the world would try to defy the laws of nature, but humans are a very peculiar species.”

Have you read Hiro Arikawa’sThe Travelling Cat Chronicles‘? What do you think about it?


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