It’s not the journey that counts, but who’s at your side.
Nana, a cat, is devoted to Satoru, his owner. So when Satoru decides to go on a roadtrip one day to find him a new home, Nana is perplexed. They visit Satoru’s old friends from his school days and early youth. His friends may have untidy emotional lives but they are all animal lovers, and they also wonder why Satoru is trying to give his beloved cat away. Until the day Nana suddenly understands a long-held secret about his much-loved owner, and his heart begins to break.
Narrated in turns by Nana and by his owner, this funny, uplifting, heartrending story of a cat is nothing if not profoundly human.
“My story will be over soon. But it’s not something to be sad about. As we count up the memories from one journey, we head off on another. Remembering those who went ahead. Remembering those who will follow after. And someday, we will meet all those people again, out beyond the horizon.”
I picked up this copy of “The Travelling Cat Chronicles” in a charity shop a few months ago, and to be completely honest, I chose it because I got confused and thought it was “If Cats Disappeared from the World“, which is also Japanese, with a white background and a black cat on the cover!
Now I’ve finished, I’m so glad that I made this mistake – I loved it!
This story is told from the perspective of Satoru Miyawaki and also the perspective of his cat Nana. My favourite parts of the book were from the animal’s point of view, which gave a really interesting insight into how our pets might think and respond to the things we say and do. Nana is feisty and he’s sarcastic, but he’s very loyal. This writing choice reminded me of “Lily and the Octopus“, a story very similar in plot but from a dog’s point of view.
Satoru has a heartwarming relationship with his cat, who he first saw several years ago as stray hanging outside his apartment block. Nana loves Satoru unconditionally, so when he finds out that Satoru is looking to find him a new owner, he can’t understand why.
Despite not having a cat and not really being a cat fan myself, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the simplicity of the story and how powerful it was in spite of this. As the story unfolded, emotions came flooding in and I was really impressed at how author Hiro Arikawa has written a tale that is both quirky and poignant at the same time.
If you’re a cat lover, read this book. If you’re not a cat lover, read this book and I’m sure you’ll still enjoy it. This is a heartwarming account of friendship and love that’ll put a smile on your face and maybe bring on some tears too.
Overall rating: I really enjoyed “The Travelling Cat Chronicles”, a poignant look at the relationship between one man, his cat and the people most important to him in his life. I loved it and would recommend you give it a go – 5 stars.