Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Guest Cat - Takashi Hiraide

Review by M

A few years back, I thought I didn't like reading detailed descriptions in fiction. On the whole, I probably still don't, but sometimes.......The Guest Cat is one of those times. It's a little book and almost all of it is concentrated on minutiae that make for something far bigger than is immediately anticipated; poignantly uplifting.

Set in Tokyo, a writerly couple of thirty somethings live in a rented cottage just off what they call Lightning Alley: the descriptions of their residence and the light are something to marvel at in themselves. A stray cat wanders in from the alley and becomes something of a guest in the couple's quiet and thoughtful lives.

The Guest Cat is a little book about the surprising and growing intensity of unlikely attachments. It is immediately and quietly alluring, moving at a slow outward pace which defies the rate of thought and change of mind that besets the protagonist.

Originally published in Japanese, The Guest Cat won the Kiyama Shohei Literary Award. This English edition was translated by Eric Selland.

Publication details: Picador, 2014, London, paperback
This copy: for review from the publisher

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