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Old 01-05-2019, 05:17 PM   #4
AnotherCat
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This was the second time that I had read the book, the first a year or so ago when it was first published in English.

We are also cat people here, with three of them, a Persian, a British Blue and a getting old highly strung little tortoiseshell (hence the term "naughty torty" ), so that was an attraction to the book. Even so it was a bit of a worry contemplating a talking cat, but it turns out that the cat's place is nothing like the animal characters in Gallico's Thomasina or Burnford's The Incredible Journey, for example. I found that the cat appeared to me to be useful as the companion on all the journeys who did not impose the complications and confusions of having another human fill that role while providing some sort of occasional "commentary".

I also found the use of the cat interesting in that they are regarded as lucky in Japanese culture (so I am told) yet was Satoru lucky? - I don't know but I think in some way he was as he was able to accept his journeys to his ultimate fate, that which we don't know for sure until late in the book, with calm and goodwill with his cat companion.

The first half or so of the book seemed slow moving to me but I wonder if this was on purpose or maybe a typical Japanese literary device (I have no idea on that?). I have never been to Japan but one year my wife and I mixed quite a lot with the crew of a Japanese owned superyacht whose skipper was European. I recall him often complaining how getting into even just a packet of biscuits, or similar, involved having to get through several layers of packaging - I have also seen this care in Japanese packaging and presentation.

So I have wondered if in the book each of the journeys is another layer of "packaging" each of which when unraveled reveals a little more of the ultimate destination of the story. Then the final journey through the countryside being the final layer of the "packaging" that exposes us to the end story. Likely a bit of a flight of imagination on my part?
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