The Guest Cat
The Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller
A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo. They work at home as freelance writers. They no longer have very much to say to one another.
One day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. She is a beautiful creature. She leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again....more
...observation is at its core an expression of love which doesn’t get caught up in sentiment.
Those green eyes glowing in the dark ceaselessly, endowing the cover of this book with a breath of life, a dream of plenitude - those eyes were an irresistible enticement. An immediate move was imperative; The Guest Cat had to be on my shelf. Unfortunately, my expectations were far too great, especially taking into account the fact that one of the ingredients of this plot is supposed to be a couple who ...more
Takashi Hiraide's words
Like dewdrops on cat's whiskers.
I still can recall the expression on my students’ faces when I explained the rules of writing haiku poems to them. It was a mixture of bewilderment and incredulity. They seemed to be asking: you must be joking, it’s sure not enough to be called a poem?! I think the kids’ reaction is similar to many adults’. Especially nowadays, when we live so fast that immortalizing moments and stopping for a while just to admire ...more
From first page’s delicate description of an optical illusion seen on a frosted window pane, this novella painstakingly documents minute and admiring observations, one object at a time. Nature features strongly: the cat, trees, butterflies, insects, but also windows and boundaries. The focus is on poetic beauty in the moment (like haiku), without shadow of sentiment, even when there is good cause for ...more
A young Japanese couple who work from home live in a tiny cottage on the edge of a larger estate in a quiet part of Tokyo. The estate has a beautiful old traditional Japanese garden which they are allowed to use by the old couple living in the big house. One day a stray cat is adopted by their neighbours who ...more
Part of it might be the translation – the translator’s notes at the end explain some useful context about the late 1980s ...more
An almost perfect little book, as delicate as a netsuke. Its tale is simple – a young bohemian couple is adopted by a neighbor's cat, who is treated as a guest, not a pet.
Chibi was a jewel of a cat. Her pure white fur was mottled with several lampblack blotches containing just bit of light brown. The sort of cat you might see just about anywhere in Japan, except she was especially slim and tiny.I didn't realize until I'd almost finished the book that "Chibi" ...more
Takashi Hiraide, a Japanese writer, has penned a soul touching and thoroughly captivating tale about a cat and a couple's relationship in his book, The Guest Cat that is centered around a mid aged couple who are freelance writers and work from their rented cottage and lead a very quite and uneventful life, but one day their life brings purpose as an uninvited as well as the neighbor's cat lands up to their kitchen and starts visiting their ...more
The sentence structure and carefully pruned language are sublime and I simply loved the experience of reading the story. Seeing the settings come alive was like watching someone paint in front of me. However I was always aware I was only seeing the surface of the story, missing everything underneath. The translator's notes at the back helped a great deal, and I need to re-read now.
“The Guest Cat” is a simple novella in terms of a plotline. One can seemingly predict what takes place when a couple falls in love with a cat that begins visiting their home. Look deeper, however, and Hiraide ...more
The book is extremely well written. It is short only three and a half hours long (140 pages). The ...more
Set in 1988, a cat, Chibi (“little one”) becomes the focal point of a couple’s lives. The (unnamed) narrator reflects on the whereabouts of Chibi, and the vexed question of ownership is central to the story. Cat owners/ lovers will know that a cat will have a significant say on who it answers to, and whether to spread its presence for maximum benefit (to it)!
The cover of the book features a cat. The book’s title is a cat title. This is misleading. The cat is a bit player in a classically ...more
A married couple lives in a guest house on a larger estate and the slim novel is more about how they relate to the architecture and light of their house, the seasons, other people, Chibi the cat, and so on. This is another ...more
This was translated into English so I think the translator should get some credit. However, realistically, some of the beauty or context of the original text may have been "lost in translation".
Although, on the surface, the story could be about the guest cat, Chibi, I think it was more ...more
This was a charming book which was a quick read. However, I feel perhaps I should have taken a bit more time with it. I felt that I could sense that the writer was a poet, even in translation; his imagery was evocative.
On the surface, this is a simple story of a couple who meet and eventually fall in love with a neighbor's cat. I happen to be a cat person so I could relate to the descriptions of the cat's play and habits; I think though that the cat & her habits were also a metaphor ...more