The Cat Who Saved Books
by Sōsuke Natsukawa, Louise Heal Kawai (Translator), Kevin Shen (Narrator)
Grandpa used to say it all the time: books have tremendous power. But what is that power really?
Natsuki Books was a tiny second-hand bookshop on the edge of town. Inside, towering shelves reached the ceiling, every one crammed full of wonderful books. Rintaro Natsuki loved this space that his grandfather had created. He spent many happy hours there, reading whatever he liked. It was the perfect refuge for a boy who tended to be something of a recluse.
After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro is devastated and alone. It seems he will have to close the shop. Then, a talking tabby cat called Tiger appears and asks Rintaro for help. The cat needs a book lover to join him on a mission. This odd couple will go on three magical adventures to save books from people have imprisoned, mistreated and betrayed them. Finally, there is one last rescue that Rintaro must attempt alone…
The Cat Who Saved Books is a heart-warming story about finding courage, caring for others – and the tremendous power of books. Sosuke Natsukawa’s international best seller, translated from Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai, is a story for those for whom books are so much more than words on paper.
Here we are with another Japanese book about a cat – it’s been a while!
I honestly chose this book because it had a relatively long wait at the library and I took that to mean it was popular and well liked. Probably not the best reason to choose a book, but I have a good track record with Japanese literature and thought it was time to give another a go.
This is my first read by Sōsuke Natsukawa, an award winning Japanese writer. His book ‘The Cat Who Saved Books’ is a quirky little story about just that, a cat who is on a mission to save books.
“Books can’t live your life for you. The reader who forgets to walk on his own two feet is like an old encyclopaedia, his head stuffed with out-of-date information. Unless someone else opens it up, it’s nothing but a useless antique.”
Rintaro Natsuke is a school boy when his guardian, his grandfather, dies. Rintaro’s grandfather owned and ran a small second hand bookshop that was never very popular. In his grief Rintaro finds himself withdrawn, spending time in the bookshop rather than going to school. Then one day he’s visited by a cat that can talk, a cat who wants to help Rintaro rescue books via a serious of missions or ‘labyrinths’.
This is a nice enough read with a simple plot but as is the case with most Japanese literature I have read so far, there are deeper, more philosophical meanings within.
I did enjoy it and I was naturally fond of the topic being books and reading, but I found the story to be a little repetitive and longer than it needed to be. I think I was ready for it to be over about half way through.
This is an entertaining story that I’m glad I read, but it’s not one that blew me away.
Overall rating: “The Cat Who Saved Books” is a nice read quite literally about a cat on a mission to save books. There are deeper meanings within this simple story and I enjoyed it, but I didn’t find it to be particularly engaging. This was a 3 star read for me.
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