The Traveling Cat Chronicles [Hiro Arikawa, Philip Gabriel (translator) ]

Start Date: May 5, 2020

Finish Date: May 7, 2020

Source: Amazon India Kindle edition.

Goodreads link.

Goodreads summary:

It’s not the journey that counts, but who’s at your side.

Nana is on a road trip, but he is not sure where he is going. All that matters is that he can sit beside his beloved owner Satoru in the front seat of his silver van. Satoru is keen to visit three old friends from his youth, though Nana doesn’t know why and Satoru won’t say.

Set against the backdrop of Japan’s changing seasons and narrated with a rare gentleness and humour, Nana’s story explores the wonder and thrill of life’s unexpected detours. It is about the value of friendship and solitude, and knowing when to give and when to take. TRAVELLING CAT has already demonstrated its power to move thousands of readers with a message of kindness and truth. It shows, above all, how acts of love, both great and small, can transform our lives.

Notes:

  • I think Shivani pointed either this, or I Am a Cat, or both out to me in Kinokuniya long ago. I added both to my to-be-read pile, but got to I Am a Cat first.
  • This references I Am a Cat in the first paragraph itself, but the cat is much less of a sarcastic asshole than in the old book. And the master is a kind person rather than a pompous git.
  • It became a wonderful comfort read.
  • I wonder if Satoru’s first cat was named Hachi in a deliberate call out to the story of Hachiko. (I had that story in my Class 3 English reader, and I think I ended up dragging my family to see the movie at the Japanese embassy. What days…). The last chapter was certainly very Hachiko like.
  • I also got reminded of the Studio Ghibli movie where the girl goes to work on a farm. Which was it again? Only Yesterday.
  • The bit about Satoru explaining the colour red to Hachi raises all sorts of questions; from the empirical one of how cats do perceive red – one which I encounter when having to do visual quiz questions with Kodhi or Monkee – to the larger epistemological questions of how do I know that what you see as blue is what I see as blue? Plus it ties up with Guy Deutscher’s Through the Language Glass and its fictional mirror image, Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore.

 

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