The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide (Picador)


“At first it looked like low flying ribbons of clouds just floating there, but then the clouds would be blown a little bit to the right and next to the left.”

IF you have friends who like cats. Who like gardening. Who may be curious about Japanese mores…as you can see from the opening lines it is wispy, almost meteorological, a book of clues and subtleties, tightly written, economic to the point that the narrator’s wife is reduced to a hazy haiku.

Hiraide begins boldly: “There are a few cat lovers among my close friends, and I have to admit that there have been moments when that look of excessive sweet affection oozing from around their eyes has left me feeling absolutely disgusted.” This he puts down to not having any experience of cats…I am not sure about the friends either, there are not too many here. Notice the word shame in the next line. It is a clue, but all things are relative.

I am listing this a biography because if it is fiction then it is masquerading as an I story and apparently he tells us the first three parts were published separately as short stories before he finished the book as it is. It is short, different and eloquent but no old possum. An impractical cat.


About drewsmith28

Words, words, words...
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