BookBrowse Reviews The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, Philip Gabriel

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The Travelling Cat Chronicles

by Hiro Arikawa, Philip Gabriel

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, Philip Gabriel X
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, Philip Gabriel
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    Oct 2018, 288 pages

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The Travelling Cat Chronicles is a stirring tale of inter-species friendship about a man and his cat on a road trip across Japan.

Out of 38 First Impression reviews, 27 readers gave The Travelling Cat Chronicles five stars, with another seven awarding it four stars, for a combined rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

What it's about:
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa begins as a simple story relating the devotion between a Japanese man, Satoru, and Nana, a stray cat he nurses back to health. Together the pair embark on a journey to see the countryside and to visit friends from Satoru's past. The wise and sassy Nana shares his thoughts about Satoru, his friends, and other animals throughout their travels. Along the way are life lessons to ponder, such as the importance of kindness, gentleness, loyalty to friends and love for family, which are evident in Satoru's well-lived life (Loretta F).

Our First Impression reviewers found the novel highlighted many important life lessons:
As we move through life, we will all take a few unexpected turns along the road. This lovely book is about some of those turns (Susan S). The novel brings to the reader a powerful message about the value of friendship and solitude. It shows, above all, how acts of love, both great and small, can transform our lives (Carol N). This book is a great blueprint for overcoming life's challenges without bitterness, jealousy or self-pity (Elise B).

It was an emotional read for many:
This delightful story made me laugh at times, and then made me shed a few tears (Rose N). It's a touching story (Loren B); expect it to pull at your heartstrings – but in the best possible way, without becoming overly sentimental (Carol N). Keep your tissues handy (Susan L).

Most found Nana the cat to be an entertaining narrator:
I loved Nana speaking in first-person; it was different and very interesting (Bobbi L). I think Arikawa truly captured the essence of a cat's personality (Loren B). I have always had a cat or two and recognized many of the character traits in Nana. His wry, sometimes self-serving view of life, humans, dogs and friendship were both hilarious and touching (Pricilla M). I also enjoyed his often sarcastic remarks about humans and other animals. Not surprisingly, he clearly believed cats to be superior to dogs in every way (Loretta F).

Pet owners in particular appreciated the bond between Nana and Satoru:
As an animal lover I thought that the relationship with Satoru and his cat was very realistic and meaningful (Sandra C). I could really relate to the interactions between the two. I felt that the story showed the love that can develop between an owner and their pet, and how an animal can be your soul mate and help you through trying times (Ariel F).

The book did have its critics:
This book was hard for me to get into as I found it to be slow and quirky (Carole S). First of all, there was a cultural difference in the approach to the man/cat bond. Secondly, I felt that there was a disconnect because of the translation; an element of warmth that I was used to from American bestsellers was missing. Finally, the foreshadowing - that device that keeps you moving forward to find out why things are going the way they are going - was awkward (Erica M). The exchanges between characters were extremely stilted and simplistic - there is no flow of conversation or thought (Janet W). It felt more like a children's book in the writing style and that was distracting to me (Lucy S).

Overall, most loved The Travelling Cat Chronicles and would recommend it:
This was a great book; so much soul searching and reflection was relayed in these pages. The way the author details Saturo's life was beautiful; I felt so much a part of his journey that I never wanted it to end (Kristen H). I would give this 8 stars if I could - what a sweet read! (Darcy C). It's a book to be treasured (Carol R). Readers who seek a mindful way of living will appreciate the values reinforced in these pages (Claire M). If you ever thought about cats and longevity and belonging, this is the book for you (Susan S). I would highly recommend it, especially to pet lovers and those going through an emotional journey (Loren B).

This review first ran in the November 14, 2018 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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Beyond the Book:
  Cats in Japanese Culture

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