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The Cat and The City

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,386 ratings  ·  292 reviews
In Tokyo—, one of the world's largest megacities, —a stray cat is wending her way through the back alleys. With each detour, she brushes up against the seemingly disparate lives of the city-dwellers, connecting them in unexpected ways. But the city is changing. As it does, it pushes her to the margins where she chances upon a series of apparent strangers—, from a homeless ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: August 1st 2021 by Atlantic Books (first published June 4th 2020)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Nat K

"You look back at every choice you ever made in life, and all you can see are the mistakes. The things you did that brought you to where you are."

From the opening story where a freshly inked tattoo mysteriously comes to life, I was completely beguiled. Even more so, as a tiny calico cat appears to be moving to different parts of this breathing work of art, much to the tattoo artist's consternation.

Quirky and magical.

Tokyo is the backdrop. A thriving metropolis. The city is a pulsing magnetic cre
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Flo had hundreds of these thoughts that swam around in her head throughout the day, but no one to share them with. But she would always tell herself, who needs friends, when you have books. Her bookcases were filled with not just her favourite fiction, but also tomes of linguistic textbooks, dictionaries and reference books, all relating to Japanese language and culture. She considered herself a Japanologist, rather than a Japanophile. To her, there was a big difference.

Japanophiles were peop
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Cat and the City is Nick Bradley’s debut novel, or a series of short stories linked by a stray cat, and as both a life-long Japanophile and ailurophile, I had a feeling this would really resonate with me; however, what I didn't fully anticipate was quite how much I would adore it. This is an impressive first foray into the literary game for the author and I must say it felt so comforting to pick up; it was a sheer delight from beginning to denouement and a stunning slice of escapism many are ...more
Book Deli
Oct 01, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-tbr, kindle
A cat meandering about Tokyo and connecting the lives of strangers?? Sign me UP.

I got this for 99p on kindle because I am a sucker for the monthly deals. I've written a blog post (shameless plug) about other good picks on kindle deal and would be super grateful if anyone wanted to check it out 😊

October Kindle Deals
Paul Fulcher
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, 2020
Unless he opened his eyes, he would be stuck like this. Looping round and round, zooming in on the city forever, trapped. But he kept them shut. For when he opened them, he would see that there was no longer space for him to sign his name in the roof of his parlour. It would be filled with a real red roof. He’d be faced with a city, with the millions and millions of people moving in and around, through subway stations and buildings, parks and highways, living their lives. The city pumped their s ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
A lot of the fun to be had reading this book is in spotting the connections between the characters and the stories. And it has to be said, doing that is a LOT of fun.

In the first story, Naomi arrives at at a tattoo parlour and asks for an unusual tattoo, a detailed map of Tokyo all over her back. Kentaro, the tattooist, includes a cat and, much to his surprise, discovers that tattooed cat seems to have a life of its own as it moves around the tattoo he is working on, appearing in a different pla
the cat and the city

Visit the locations in the novel here


If I were to write a one word review, that would be it. A cat appears in story one and then disappears (in the most magical of ways) only to appear again later on. Following this cat soon became my obsession. No, I’m not going mad, this novel is a whimsical story of magical realism and it’s a wonderful way of storytelling. I have since learned that the cat is almost revered in Japan as if it were some kind of god like figure. Now, I understand why and
Evie Braithwaite
With Tokyo at its heart, Nick Bradley’s debut novel is a love letter to Japan and its literature. It begins with a tattooist who receives an unusual commission from Naomi, a girl with striking, mysterious green eyes. The design she desires is his most complex request yet: a recreation of Tokyo that will cover the entirety of her back. Despite her insistence on the city being uninhabited, the tattooist adds a small cat outside Shibuya station. However, as Naomi returns for future sessions, he not ...more
Sometimes I feel like this whole city is this one vast organism. It's like a human being that we're all part of. But we're restricted by the roads, by the waterways, by the tunnels, the trains. It's like our paths are all laid out for us, and there's no way of deviating from them. That's what makes that cat different from us. It can jump on and off trains randomly. But we humans are bound up in the fate of the city. No one can escape its clutches. I'd love to pack up and leave for the country
Feb 19, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, cats
A book of connected short stories with a single cat (bakeneko) appearing throughout. I was intrigued at first but lost interest towards the end & had to force myself even to finish. The idea is there, but not everything clicked in this experiment - stories within stories, some manga pages... there was a buildup to something deeper but it didn't deliver. ...more
Oct 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tokyo is preparing for hosting the 2020 Olympics. Author Nick Bradley has weaved a collection of short stories together, with numerous characters that connect in a variety of unexpected ways, but with too few appearances by the calico cat prominently featured on the book’s striking cover. The first story is a determined girl getting a large map of the city tattooed on her back in the traditional (tebori) style. She insists on no people appearing in the tattoo, but the renowned artist sneaks in a ...more
Barb in Maryland
4.5 stars
Do not be deceived by the lovely cover. This is not a Hallmark-movie 'fluffy kitty' story. No coziness here.
What we have here is a bit of magic-realism set in today's Tokyo--accent on realism. I loved the book, even though I found some of the featured characters hard to warm up to. The story is presented episodically, with the connections between the characters slowly being revealed. The calico cat wanders through the pages, sometimes an active participant in the action, other times mer
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What a charming, surprising, insightful and, at times, brutal and heartbreaking read!
I devoured the stories in this book and have quite a few favourites too:

- Tattoo
- Sakura
- Chinese Characters
- Autumn Leaves
- Copy Cat
- Omatsuri
- Trophallaxis
- Hikikomori, Futoko & Neko

There are two main things I didn’t like about this book, first is that interconnected short stories style, like Cloud Atlas and A Visit from the Goon Squad. The other is the fact that it’s an Western writing about Japan, as someone that reads a lot translations, I pick up on different writing styles from different countries...besides I’d rather read a Japanese book about Japan. I read this because this is a bookclub book.

Maybe I’m just allergic to cats in literature too.

Two random moments in thi
Mar 05, 2021 rated it it was ok
Me, I am a nobody. And this is my own personal reaction, your mileage may vary.

I like cats, and I am fascinated by eastern cultures and their radically different to western approaches to understanding life and the world we live in.

But I need to read blurbs more carefully. "Inventive", "A love letter to Japan". I diligently read the Guardian review before I bought the book, and it seemed to promise depth, but really was a warning about not much more here than the obvious people affect each other
Nov 20, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
this sounds so beautiful 🍂
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, favorites
An intelligent, multilayered novel set in Japan just before the 2020 Olympics was due to start. It is very much a tale of the city of Tokyo, with its' inhabitants' feelings of loneliness and being lost coming to the fore. A wandering cat connects all of the characters and is something of a catalyst for the changes in their lives. The concept of this book and the way the various pieces fit together to make a whole is simply exquisite. ...more
Christopher Hood
I have been studying and visiting Japan for over 30 years and been lecturing for over 20 years. Because of this, I have read a lot of books about Japan and set in Japan. 'Cat in the City' is definitely one of my favourites.

If we don't think of 'Japanese' as a nationality or ethnicity, but rather as a state of mind or a style (so ignore the name the author on the cover of the book), I would say that this is one of the best works of Japanese literature that I have read.

It's also given me further
Susie Wang
It's not the book, it's me. I went into it expecting something else. And guess what? I was disappointed. I somehow thought this was a feel-good story. (The synopsis might just be a bit misleading.) This is actually more of a literary fiction. The structure reminds me of Improvement. I always reference Improvement when I'm reviewing literary fictions. Yeah, you're right, I don't read a ton of literary fictions.

Also, as someone who was born and raised in China, I'm more familiar with our neighbor
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite reads this year. While the individual stories were compelling enough on their own, the interconnectedness of the entire work was stunning - Bradley nails the thing he was going for with apparent ease.

There's plenty to mull over here - double thumbs up.
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Cat and The City is a strange and beguiling book - as the blurb indicates, it’s very multifaceted, and for that reason I found a lot to like, but also a few things I was less keen on. This review is an attempt to elucidate - not least, to myself! - what my thoughts are about it.

Of course, the first thing that drew me to this book was the fact it has a cat in it! She’s not as prominent as I expected her to be, but it was a pleasure to see her reappear throughout the stories. I really liked th
Christopher Kendle
As Rowan Hisayo Buchanan says on the bibliography, this truly is a love letter to Japan and its literature.
I’ve never been myself but long wanted to and this beautiful book has so vividly taken me there, at least in my imagination, through these fantastic individual stories of well written, strange and wonderful characters all mesmerisingly woven together through the ever adventurous calico cat, that wanders about Tokyo, making appearances and observing human life and culture through its little
Megan Tierney
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"It often the ones we love the most who do us harm"
I loved how this story was a collection of short stories that were all somehow links. I enjoyed finding those links within the stories. I don't know if I could choose a favourite story they were all so unique, there are definitely a few characters who you could hate, but that also makes their story so fascinating. the calico cat was so cute and the major connection throughout.
I loved the style in which the book was presented with the stories not
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short stories set in TOKYO

Our review on YOU TUBE

These short stories cannot be categorised by genre. They are a trawl through the city of Tokyo, a vehicle to show the reader the diverse layers of this vibrant metropolis, through fiction, magical realism, sci-fi and a graphic story at the back. They are cute and curious and the author clearly knows his city very well. It almost feels like a Japanese person has penned them, quirky and observant and just a touch of other
Imogen Kathleen
Apr 06, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021
I'm teetering between 4 and 5 stars, so this rating may change in the future.
A beautiful collection of short stories set in Tokyo, this book was fresh and exciting as it weaved together the stories of many varied residents of the city. The way that the tales wove together felt very natural and was executed flawlessly, and the constant presence of the calico cat gave the collection perfect cohesion.
This very much felt like Nick Bradley flexing his literary muscles, as each story was so unique in
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s no secret that I love Japan and read a lot of Japanese novels to learn more about the culture. I also love cats. Naturally, when I saw the cover of this book it was as if it had been written personally for me. After reading it, I still think that as I just loved every page and every character.

The novel shows moments of several, seemingly, strangers throughout Tokyo. All of which seem to feature a mesmerizing, green-eyed, calico cat, which seems to follow them around almost like some kind o
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
To borrow an analogy from one of the cover quotes (in this case, David Peace), this book is a tapestry, with each character - some likeable and sympathetic, others not so likeable or sympathetic, and some that flip-flop between, but all interesting - a seperate thread that weaves in and out of each others stories. What links them are a green-eyed calico cat, Naomi - a girl with suspiciously similar green eyes, the work of a science fiction writer who also loved cats, and, of course, the city of ...more
Jessica Westwood
Nooooo!!!! I was so dissapointed with this little book and I SO wanted to love it! It has really good reviews too... What is wrong with me!!!! :/

I loved the characters that were woven together in their passing ways, there was a connection through the whole book; of people, sights and destinations, and usually the little calico kitty trotting and weaving alongside, in and out, coming and going as cats will do. There is a little magical spell at the beginning involving the tattoo and the cat w
An enchanting work of magical realism set in Japan

My thanks to Atlantic Books for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Cat and the City’ by Nick Bradley in exchange for an honest review. I was very taken with it and purchased my own ebook copy on publication day.

Publisher: “A stray cat dances through Tokyo, connecting a group of apparent strangers, in this inventive literary debut.”

Tokyo is making preparations for its hosting of the 2020 Olympics (ironic). A stray calico cat, as depicted on the book’s
Tim Bradley
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book, the stories interleave really well. I particularly liked the manga section, the story of the two characters in that was exceptionally sweet.
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Nick Bradley is a graduate of the UEA Creative Writing MA and also holds a PhD in Creative & Critical Writing, focussing on the figure of the cat in Japanese literature.

The Cat and The City is his first novel, and was published by Atlantic Books in the UK in JUNE 2020 and the US and Canada in SEPTEMBER 2020.

It is currently being translated into 10 languages.

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These twelve books are so consistently adored, they have become regulars month after month in our data of most popular and most read books on...
111 likes · 42 comments
“Flo n'avait pas l'air conditionné, c'était trop cher, en revanche elle avait beaucoup de livres. Ses étagères en étaient remplies, il n'y restait plus un centimètre libre. Les voir la rassurait et la calmait. Elle en avait lu une majorité, mais il y en avait encore beaucoup à lire, ce qui suscitait chez elle une certaine excitation et lui évoquait un de ses mots préférés en japonais, tsundoku – un terme sans équivalent dans d'autres langues : acheter des livres et les entasser sur une étagère sans les lire.” 0 likes
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