As we count up the memories from one journey, we head off on another – Hiro Arikawa.
Are you ready for couple goals right now? Well, book couple goals. Warren and I chose a book for each other when we visited Waterstones in Oxford – a Waterstones that is beautiful, so you must visit. We had two rules: it had to be a novel and there was a budget. Anything and everything else was up for discussion. Or, not even that because once we’d chosen for each other, that was it. I chose The Maker of Swans by Paraic O’Donnell for Warren, whilst he chose The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa for me.
My first impression of the book was this isn’t what I would normally go for. I don’t really vary my reading in cultural terms, nor have I ever read a book that is from a cat’s point of view. It isn’t a young adult and it didn’t grab me as much as other books have in the past, so much so that it has taken me nearly a month to complete it.
Despite the slow reading, this story is one of love and friendship told by the voice of a cat who is sarcastic, honest and loveable. The best part was the cat himself, a stray who lived under a silver van and was taken into the care of a young man called Satoru. He named the cat Nana, and together the embark on a journey that neither of them will ever forget. The journey itself will catch the attention of any travel lover. Descriptions of mountains and fields, of changing weather and beautiful colours fill each page. An exciting road trip filled with music and conversation is something everyone desires to have in their lifetime, one that will stay with you forever. This road trip is a little different. Satoru is visiting old friends who have spread across Japan. He needs to find a home for Nana, but one that will be perfect. He doesn’t want to leave him behind.
Delving into Satoru’s past through various conversations is what keeps the slow plot going. His character, even during childhood, is kind, compassionate and full of life. His heart is always in the right place, no matter what. He loves so dearly that even his peers cannot be mad at him for too long; this is where envy comes into play, and the complications of feelings and emotions that occur between friends of all ages, especially those made during the dramatic teenage years. The most loved friendship of all is the one between Satoru and Nana. Both these characters came from completely different backgrounds, but were perhaps united through their abandonment. Nana refuses to be tamed, only to become cherished whilst Satoru never lets him out of his sight.
I wouldn’t pick this book up again for another read, solely due to the lack of reading I did. It didn’t consume me whole, but it was a simple read that told the tale of an unlikely friendship, one that will make you smile despite the end.
It is a story that will warm your heart, even if you don’t like cats.
Have you ever read something out of your comfort zone?
Love, Faye xo