The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, Philip Gabriel (Translation)

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Berkley Books
Source: Publisher

I…don’t really know how to talk about this book.

Okay, let me try again.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles is precisely the chronicles of a cat who travels with his companion (or owner, whatever you prefer) ostensibly to find a new home for the cat but the journey is, in actuality, a farewell in the most final sense of the word to people and places befriended and experienced. Yes, I am the queen of long sentences but hopefully that one made sense.

The novel is told, mostly, from the viewpoint of the cat, Nana, whose perspective is simple, blunt, and profound for these very reasons. Giving the prose some texture and depth are the flashbacks or memories that crop up every time Nana’s companion/owner meets a friend.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles tells a story of friendship between a cat and his person, love between friends, and just love in general. The relationships spoken of and illustrated in this novel are complex with layers and flavours akin to real life. The reader (in this case me) senses very early on that there is more to the journey than Satoru divulges. There is a sense of an end, a poignancy to his actions, that he cannot quite hide. Nana senses it but does not explicitly state it unless someone else does. But this end is not the story. Their friendship is.

The story is profound and easy to read. It is not tragic, perhaps because as a cat Nana has very different reactions towards what humans label tragedy. It is beautiful though and infused with the kind of hope that all good stories are. I recommend it.