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A Cat, a Man, and Two Women

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,018 ratings  ·  213 reviews
“Considering all I’ve sacrificed, is it too much to ask for one little cat in return?”

Shinako has been ousted from her marriage by her husband Shozo and his younger lover Fukuko. She’s lost everything: her home, status, and respectability. Yet the only thing she longs for is Lily, the elegant tortoiseshell cat she shared with her husband. As Shinako pleads for Lily’s
Paperback, 164 pages
Published April 1st 1992 by Kodansha (first published 1936)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,018 ratings  ·  213 reviews

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Caro the Helmet Lady

This story serves as a perfect example of how people can mistreat each other on a different levels, be it manipulation, adultery or plain ignoring, and be a complete assholes to another human being, but at the same time they can show their soft side and gentle affection to their felines.
I'm sure that many years of relationships with cats and observing them closely (and their humans too, of course) helped Tanizaki to create this little masterpiece. Just read the description of Lily he put in
Sep 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novella, japan
Second Review
3.75 stars

Rather surprisingly I found reading this three-novella book more hilarious than my first attempt, probably due to more time spent freely and reflection applied. One of the reasons is that, I think, I didn't know why I was in a rush while reading and my first review was all I could share with my Goodreads friends; therefore, I decided to reread this trio and hoped to get some ideas that should be different and beneficial to some keen Tanizaki readers.

First, reading his
It is for good reason that the cat is listed first in the title of the main tale in this three-story omnibus by Junichirō Tanizaki, A Cat, a Man, and Two Women, which is, in part, a grown-up version of The Incredible Journey. Lily the feline is the real charmer at the center of a messy human saga of adultery, divorce, family intrigue and vengeance, involving the indolent Shozo (the man), his chastened ex-wife, Shinako, and his young new trophy wife, Fukuko. Lily becomes the object of a custody ...more
Katie Lumsden
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. Tanizaki is an amazing writer, and this little story is fun, touching and powerful. I'd certainly recommend.
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing collection of short stories. RTC
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lili ...more
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for cat lovers. Very charming in its own way.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this little book. There isn't a lot to it, it's only 128 pages, but it's packed full of detail and emotion. The focus is very much on the characters in the title and the relationship between them as scorned first wife convinces her ex's new wife to force him to give his treasured cat to her. Is it a means of revenge, is she trying to stir up trouble for the new couple or is she trying to win him back? It is a very engaging read and gives a wonderful sense of the Japanese ...more
Nicky Neko
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Melike Sevindik
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book would be astonishing if there is a binding end. Anyway, I had fun when I was reading.
Brona's Books
The Japanese have a curious relationship with cats in their literature. It's intense, tender, humane, faithful and compassionate.

Neko to Shōzō to Futari no Onna or A Cat, A Man and Two Women by Junichiro Tanizaki is a short novel that is a prime example of this feline devotion.

There are oodles of gorgeous descriptions of cats being cats, that any cat lover will know and love intimately - from cats snuggling up with you under the covers on a cold night, to stretching up to put their front paws on
Laura Tolomei
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really masterful!

Not just to cat lovers, I'd recommend this book to anyone who appreciates deep feelings and bonds with a furry, warm creature that just happens to be a cat.

Had Lilly been a dog, she'd have inspired just as much love and devotion. Her personality is the real deal, and I truly enjoyed how the author brought it to the fore, and how he permeated his entire narration with it.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
One for animal lovers. I love cats.
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cats are the best, but this little story was also quite funny and very nicely written. The cat was described so nicely :)
Nov 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written, shortish story about possession, love and control. Funny and witty with a small dollop of the sentimentality that is not too treacly sweet.

Japanese literature seems to be full of stories of people who really love their cats!
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love it when friends give me books. A beautiful tale of love, loneliness and cats. A perfect little tome. Thank you Aimee ! ...more
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-english
thank you, brother, for gifting me such a marvelous book.
Ian Josh
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Snappy wit and insightful.

Full Review:

Beth Bonini
Shozo, an indolent, spoiled and child-like man in his late 20s, is forced - through the combined efforts of his mother and his second wife Fukuko - to give his beloved cat Lily into the custody of his first wife Shinako. When he sneaks into Shinako's home for a secret rendezvous with Lily, he is overcome with both excitement and trepidation. "Odd as it may sound, Shozo had never experienced this sort of agitation and impatience before, even in his relations with other human beings."

I couldn't
Wolfe Tone
Lovely little tale and probably the best piece of cat-fiction I've ever read. Must-read for all cat-lovers. Sweet, funny, light-hearted and without any of the perversion and sado-masochism normally found in Tanizaki's works.
David B
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Although all three stories in this volume are worthwhile, it is really the title novella that stands out. A complicated relationship between a man, his first wife, and his current wife plays out through their machinations regarding Lily the cat. In a society (1930s Japan) where a woman really depended on an advantageous marriage to a successful man, the two women, along with the man’s mother, put a great deal of pressure on him to live up to his responsibilities. Unfortunately for them, Shozo is ...more
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Three fictional pieces by Tanizaki. The title novella is a droll exploration of the relationship between a cat, her somewhat wimpish thirty-year-old master and his two wives. What amazes me more is the second tale, "The Little Kingdom" (1918), a short story which presages fascism by two decades, a gripping masterpiece which deserves to be better known.
Ryan Houck
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I finished the last sentence, I laughed aloud and reread the page. That can't be how it ends, can it? So silly. So light. It's a love song to cats. And a satire on how we project onto cats.

Charming. Ridiculous.
Rachel Jones
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
In the final lines you finally understand how sophisticated this story actually is. On surface value it doesn’t seem so but one you hit the end the penny drops and suddenly you realise something which you may not have initially. Clever.
Jim Coughenour
Comic, melancholy, slightly vicious - illustrative of one of the key rules of relationships: if you have to choose, go with the cat.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japanese-authors
My Last Read: A Cat, a Man, and Two Women by Jun'ichiro Tanizaki (translated by Paul McCarthy).

Yeah, I liked this a lot.

Back to regular programming after the Keigo Higashino commercial break (it was a good commercial though).

Although titled, “A Cat, a Man, and Two Women”, this book is a collection featuring a novella and two short stories. I enjoyed the novella for its cleverness in bringing a cat into a love triangle (or quadrangle, depending on how you look at it). The cat, Lily, was
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book was suggested to me by a friend when I told them I was reading the book, Am a Cat by Soseki Natsume. The person said that this book is really more for people who like cats than I Am a Cat. I think they were right. One of the things I really loved about this book is was short. I often have trouble finishing books. This book had several stories in it. A Cat, A Man and Two Women was the first story. It was funny, whimsical and sad. I thought it was told in a very sensitive way. It also ...more
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I picked it up from a display corner at Daunt Books. It was a total accident that I read it after Never Let Me Go, but I can see how Ishiguro might have been influenced by Tanizaki. There's that same rhythm of obsessive myopia and then a sudden dilation. It's a mystery to me how they both achieve a thrilling rate of revelation -- even with such quotidian subjects. Anyway, this is, in many ways, just an unabashed love song to cats, but the tortoise cat in question constantly changes in its ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Ehhhhh... this is a dnf for me. I read the novella, A Cat, a Man, and Two Women, and enjoyed it just fine, but I wasn't compelled to read the rest.

My thoughts on the story I read are... mixed. On one hand, the writing is quite competent. The suspense about what's going to happen when the plot hits its peak is handled amazingly - and it's pretty much the only reason I finished it. I really didn't care much about the characters, or the plot, I just wanted to know what happened to the damn cat. On
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-tranlsation, japan
When I bought this I hadn’t realised that that the author had also written The Makioka Sisters which I read years ago and absolutely loved. I had also presumed that ‘cat stories’ were a new phenomenon so it was interesting to find one written eighty years ago. Wonderful descriptions of Lily the cat and her relationships with those around her (will be familiar to any cat owners), but also a damning portrait of how the same people who can care so much for a pet, can act with with such spite and ...more
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La Stamberga dei ...: La gatta di Jun'ichirō Tanizaki 1 8 Apr 02, 2013 05:53AM  

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Jun'ichirō Tanizaki (谷崎 潤一郎) was a Japanese author, and one of the major writers of modern Japanese literature, perhaps the most popular Japanese novelist after Natsume Sōseki.

Some of his works present a rather shocking world of sexuality and destructive erotic obsessions; others, less sensational, subtly portray the dynamics of family life in the context of the rapid changes in 20th-century
“When he heard people with no knowledge of a cat's character saying that cats were not as loving as dogs, that they were cold and selfish, he always thought to himself how impossible it was to understand the charm and lovableness of a cat if one had not, like him, spent many years living alone with one. The reason was that all cats are to some extent shy creatures: they won't show affection or seek it from their owners in front of a third person but tend rather to be oddly standoffish. Lily too would ignore Shozo or run off when he called her, if his mother were present. But when the two of them were alone, she would climb up on his lap without being called and devote the most flattering attention to him.” 0 likes
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