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If Cats Disappeared from the World

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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  12,004 ratings  ·  1,911 reviews
The international phenomenon that has sold over a million copies in Japan, If Cats Disappeared from the World is a funny, heartwarming, and profound meditation on the meaning of life.

The postman’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat Cabbage to keep him company, he was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to
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Hardcover, 176 pages
Published March 12th 2019 by Flatiron Books (first published August 30th 2012)
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Diana Literally anything from Haruki Murakami, especially Norvegian Wood or Kafka on the Shore, or After Dark. Keigo Higashino is also an excellent author. …moreLiterally anything from Haruki Murakami, especially Norvegian Wood or Kafka on the Shore, or After Dark. Keigo Higashino is also an excellent author. Miracles of the Namiya General Store is highly recomended, and his detective novels are also great. And I really enjoyed Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi too.(less)
Vanita Do you mean non-sexual? Then yes, it is clean.

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Average rating 3.69  · 
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Ruth
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wonder if the translation let this novella down? It was clunky, American English, and made me feel like an American teen had written it. Japanese literature that I've read is often quirky and a little odd (see Murakami!) but usually odd in a good way. This just left me a feeling a bit cold.

The part I liked was the part with the cat, but much of the rest left me unmoved. The storyteller has been given days to live, but then the devil appears & tells him that if he gets rid of 'something' from t
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Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
This is my kind of book. This is my kind of story. This is my kind of favourite.
This book gave me everything I wanted from a good book.
It's fun yet it makes me think about a lot of things which actually matter in reality.
I love how the author wrote such big things about life in such a simple way. It's simply amazing.
I laughed and cried while reading this one. It's endearing and will remain as one of the most memorable reads.

*What made this read different:
The main characters are nothing sort of u
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K.J. Charles
This is the story of a very dull and staggeringly self-centred man who makes a deal with the devil to deprive other people of things they love in order to extend his pointless empty life. In the course of this he indulges in much trite and repetitive musing on things like time (clocks are a human construct!) and mobile phones (we let them limit us but on the other hand they're quite useful!) and cats (people like them!).

It's like being stuck in a room with a stoned teenager who's just started a
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abby
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, translated, cats
"In order to gain something, you have to lose something."

Ok, kids, I have saved you from having to read this book, because that line pretty much sums up the entire text.

This is the second time in short order that a Japanese language book about a young, lonely man who faces his mortality by looking back at his life through the context of beloved pet cats. The other is "The Traveling Cat Chronicles," by Hiro Arikawa and the two books are similar to the point that there's no need to read both, unle
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Ian
Jun 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
It was only last year that I first came across the word “ailurophile” which when I looked it up turned out to mean “cat lover”. I’ve never been lucky enough to visit Japan, but the literature and film coming from there suggest the country has a good claim to be the most ailurophilic in the world. I understand this book has been a bestseller in Japan. Doubtless the theme helped the author hit the right note with readers.

I read the English language translation, which I imagine will be a bit diffe
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Emma
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I adore cats but I didn’t really get on with this book. Although it’s not always the case, sometimes translations can be pretty clunky. This was a large part of the problem here. It reminded me a bit of a Japanese Mitch Albom!
Kim
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh gosh my fellow readers. I found this lovely little gem in my local bookstore about a month ago. A bit quirky, a bit sad, but so good. Please read it!
Gaby
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not being a fan of overly sentimental stories, I'm not sure that this was the book for me. I liked the concept, but it read very simply - too straight-forward for my liking. I felt that it didn't explore any theme in great detail; the visit from the devil seemed to end abruptly. The 'light-hearted' inclusion of the devil gave way to a very sentimental ending which continued to introduce new 'insights' into the character which felt too convenient. It felt as though the story had two parts: the de ...more
Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)
I'm a cat lover, so don't take away the cats including my own XD

To the serious business that is this book review: I found this story to be a little underwhelming. After picking up a copy on a whim from the library, I did find myself quickly transported into the world of a man who is dying from a terminal illness but is given the chance to try and live longer thanks to the Devil showing up and advising him that each day, the dying man must get rid of one thing in the world. I loved his pet cat Ca
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Antonomasia
Even before I started reading this book, I'd changed my mind about it a few times. It looked like it might be cheesy. But I have a weakness for stories about magic wishing schemes, and its premise is kind of like a Japanese Bedazzled. And the cover illustration is lovely, managing to be cute, very real and evocative of Japanese painting. The book is very short (in the paper edition, those 208 pages must have big print and a lot of white space) and it's eligible for the Booker International (albe ...more
Kusaimamekirai
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-japan
“In order to gain something you have to lose something. Mom said it was just obvious. People are always trying to get something for nothing. But that’s just theft. If you’ve gained something it means that someone, somewhere, has lost something. Even happiness is built on someone else’s misfortune.”

How often do we think about the things in our life we take for granted? How many of these things do we really need? What would happen if we woke up one day and they were gone forever?:

“It’s as if wit
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Loredana (Bookinista08)
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magical-realism
OK, so I finished this book bawling my eyes out! It's a short and simple book about life and its many joys and tragedies, and after finishing it I feel like I'm both sad and satisfied. There is also a magical element to it, since the Devil himself makes an appearance (or does he?), but the book is very much anchored in reality. It's profound in that very clean-cut and simple way that Japanese authors manage to accomplish perfectly. I loved it to bits and I recommend it to everyone, not just cat ...more
Kate
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.75/5stars

I really did like this BUT I found it to be a little too spelled out? I love books that explore grief and exploring ones self but this one was just a bit too obvious/a bit too much telling rather than showing. I feel like this could have been a full 350-400 paged novel and it could have done the idea more justice because it really was a beautiful and very interesting twist on this type of story!
Brittany
When the postman is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he is told that he has a maximum of 6 months to live, but the reality may be more like a week. He returns home, where he is greeted by the devil that offers him a deal. He can make one thing disappear from the world for one extra day of life.

What's the catch? The devil gets to choose what thing disappears. The first day starts with phones than movies, then clocks, and then the devil proposes that cats should be next. Can the postman trade his
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Alex
Jun 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What if you had only few hours to live? What if you see your doppelganger in your room, but dressed and acting so different from you, proclaiming that he is the Devil? What if the Devil named Aloha in this book offers you a chance to live one more day? Yes there's a caveat: you need to remove something from this world inorder to increse your life span. Would you do it?

That's the outline of this tiny Japanese novel. I liked the writing style and the narrator's love for his cat Cabbage. I also lov
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Fiona
Over 1 million copies sold in Japan, the blurb says. Hmmmmm......... Imagine you’ve been told you’re terminally ill. The devil comes to visit and says that you can make something in the world disappear each day in exchange for an extra day of life. You go along with this for a couple of days. Personally, I would be choosing broad beans, barley and chewing gum as my first three trades, rather than telephones, clocks and movies, but each to their own.

I enjoyed this story up to a point as it was q
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Tripfiction
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sad, poignant, amusing, thought-provoking.... JAPAN

If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura (excellently translated by Eric Selland) – amusing, sad and thought-provoking novel set in Japan.



If Cats Disappeared From The World is the story of the last week in the life of the narrator, an unnamed 30 year old Japanese postman diagnosed with a brain tumour and told by his doctor he is going to die.

He goes back in shock to his tiny apartment and to his cat Cabbage, with whom he shares his l
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Laia Pérez (laiaisreading)
Blog|Instagram
Blog|Instagram

I bought this book in Egland when I was on a trip. I'd picked it up just for the title, and the cute little black cat on the cover, but the synopsis seem so interesting that I bought it.
And here we end up, with me telling you that that was one of those times in which the "I'm going to buy it, I don't want to know any of the previous reviews" woked. I usually look up close every book I'm going to buy (They are not so cheap ya' know).

We follow the journey of a young man
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Abbie | ab_reads
If you need an extra short but sweet reminder to appreciate the small stuff in life, then may I recommend you If Cats Disappeared from the World! The premise of this book is fairly straightforward if somewhat fantastical - our narrator has just found out he's going to die. Imminently. The devil, clad in a garish Hawaiian shirt, shows up in his home and tells him he can gain another day to live if he chooses something to make disappear from the world forever. Simple.
.
Initially the narrator is on
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TraceyL
This book has a weird premise, which is why I picked it up. A Japanese man is dying, and on his last day the devil shows up and offers him a deal. His life can be extended, one day at a time, by choosing to give up something he loves by making it disappear from the world all together.

The message is that if you lose everything and everyone you love, life isn't really worth living anymore, so you should learn to appreciate what you have. It was pretty heavy-handed with it's metaphors, but I think
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Florencia
This beautiful tale is translated from the Japanese by Eric Selland, who also translated The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide. Fans of The Guest Cat and The Travelling Cat Chronicles will also surely love If Cats Disappeared from the World.

This book has low ratings and one of the reasons was "clunky translation". A shame, I didn't have such problem while reading The Guest Cat - I had other problems, actually. In that sense, I shouldn't even consider reading this. But again, that book cover...

Aug 30,
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Hizatul Akmah
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
actual rating: 4.3/5

fun fact: the only cats in this book were named Lettuce and Cabbage and i find it hilarious???
i really liked how light and bittersweet this book was at the same time. it wasn't really *that* emotional like i expected but the connection was still there . the MC's indecisive attitude at the first half of this book was kinda irritating but relatable too.

p/s: i'm now curious what's japanese literature's obsession with cats. not that i'm complaining, though.
🍁 Antonella 🍁
2.5 ⭐️

A man, who is diagnosed with a terminal illness, makes a deal with the devil (here named Aloha and dressed with hawaiian shirts!): he can gain a further day in life if he agrees to make one thing disappear from the world.

An odd and interesting concept, but sadly very poorly executioned (the translation might be blame here, though).
Anne ✨
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is a 'fable' type story (reminded me of Mitch Albom's stories) - that is translated into English from Japanese. The book cover says it is an international bestseller, so obviously has been enjoyed by many, but I personally just didn't get on with it. Not sure if it was the translation, but the writing felt simplistic and rough, and the story wasn't really very illuminating or thought provoking.
Jen
*3.75 stars*

gotta think about this one....

----edit-----

ok, thought about it.

so, this book was interesting. i feel like i'm saying that a lot in these reviews, but it's true. i've quite a few weird/thought-provoking reads. and this was one of them.

the concept: a man who only had one day to live, is visited by the Devil, who tells him he can expand his life expectancy on one condition: each day he must make something from the world disappear. oooooooooohhhhh. fascinating!

first point; this book
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Charles Edwards-Freshwater
Bit of a mixed bag.

What I loved:

Japanese literature is always quirky, and there were really fun ideas here with the devil wearing Hawaiian shirts and being unable to wink, Cabbage the cat speaking like the landed gentry, the protagonist's girlfriend and him speaking in movie quotes and only opening up over the phone - the ideas are generally pretty solid. I also really liked the fact that the characters seemed real for the most part - his mother, especially, was a lovely character and definitel
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Moonkiszt
A treasure found! Especially in these scary days of Coronavirus consequences. . . moments on our own to consider choices and to innovate into existence new bridges of communication.

I don't want to ruin a moment of your read, so will let you wander in as unassuming as I did.

This is one of those think-about books. . .it poses questions to its protagonist, our narrator, and by extension, you the reader. I loved it. Simply loved it. I will re-read this again, every time I need to. . .and because I'
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Rawa'a
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
4.5

UPDATE: the ideas this book triggered are haunting me and I REALLY want to discuss them along with the book with someone
UPDATE2: it’s good to know that some lines did make me laugh out loud.

Reminded me of the 5 people you meet in heaven.

My eyes are filled with tears and I feel a lump in my throat. I’m trying to hold it back in fear of all the emotions this book stirred.

Humans are fragile.

It’s a book about a dying man, offered a deal by the devil to extend his life one day at a time. But
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Heather
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading a lot of Japanese lit lately. Their treatment of cats is unmatched in world literature. This is a very odd book. It is written so simply, it seems at first as though it’s directed towards a nine year old. It’s about a young man who has the choice of immortality if he will remove cats from the world. His simple memories of his mother and her sad silly kitten Cabbage prove an existential examination of the purity of our brief passage on this planet.
Vishy
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story told in Genki Kawamura's 'If Cats Disappeared From The World' goes like this. The unnamed narrator is a young man. One day he discovers that he has brain tumour and his days are numbered. While he is in shock still trying to process this news, the Devil turns up at this young man's house. The Devil looks exactly like this young man, but is more cool, more stylish. And the Devil tells this young man that he is going to die the next day, but he can extend his life by one more day, if he ...more
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