TRANSLATED FICTION//The Guest Cat- Takashi Hiraide


I read quite a lot of big books, but sometimes a smaller novel fits the bill- a sort of literary palate cleanser, of sorts. This is one of those books that fit the bill. It’s also a book I had on my TBR pile for about eighteen months before the perfect time to read it came along (do you ever have that? You buy a book and sort of forget about it, until it presents itself at just the right moment? It’s why I’m reluctant to get rid of books before I’ve read them. And sometimes after I’ve read them, in case it becomes right to read them again.)

This is one of those books that moves very gently- a novel about a young Japanese couple who are sort of befriended by an aloof neighbourhood cat. Not a lot happens- the cat visits, the couple think about their lives a bit, life moves on. It’s a slow novel that ruminates on life, grief and moving on. The writer is a poet and philosopher and this is very apparent in the nature of the story; the characters aren’t thinking about the big questions in life, but the small and mundane everyday ones.

Although nothing much happened, this was the right book at the right time- it felt like a blanket at the end of a long day at the start of the new school year. It was a calming story for a stressful period.


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