“First things first. Granpa’s gone.”
THERE is a fair amount of readerly, philosophy here, virtually a fairy story. Schoolboy inherits bookshop from grandfather. Meets talking cat. On a mission. Drops out of school to chagrin of down to earth class president. He is hikikomori, the Japanese term for an insulated, shy loner, here who has developed remarkable knowledge of the geography of the bookshop and the books in it. From where we enter a world of updated Grecian myths through different labyrinths, journeys of discovery, guided by the magic cat who cutely refers to him as Mr Proprietor.
Sosuke Natsukawa is a doctor by day but his debut in Japan Kamisama no Kanute – which translates as God’s medical records – has sold more than a million copies in his home country and gone on to be made into TV.
It is all a bit YA but as a sub theme about reading itself, no bad thing. Charming.