Book Review – The Cat Who Saved Books

I picked this novel up on a whim last year because it was about books and a cat, so what could be better? The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa has been translated from Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai, and I read this as an e-book.

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Here is the blurb:

Bookish high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookstore he inherited from his beloved bookworm grandfather. Then, a talking cat named Tiger appears with an unusual request. The feline asks for—or rather, demands—the teenager’s help in saving books with him. The world is full of lonely books left unread and unloved, and Tiger and Rintaro must liberate them from their neglectful owners. 

Their mission sends this odd couple on an amazing journey, where they enter different mazes to set books free. Through their travels, Tiger and Rintaro meet a man who leaves his books to perish on a bookshelf, an unwitting book torturer who cuts the pages of books into snippets to help people speed read, and a publishing drone who only wants to create bestsellers. Their adventures culminate in one final, unforgettable challenge—the last maze that awaits leads Rintaro down a realm only the bravest dare enter…

This was a fun and short read, but felt like a YA book rather than anything more serious. Rintaro follows Tiger through alternate worlds where he must figure out how to stop people who are mistreating books. Each of these challenges was interesting, but some of the people that Rintaro meets felt more like caricatures to me.

Tiger doesn’t take as active a role as I might have liked, but there are other secondary characters that help to liven up the plot. Given that this story was told by a Japanese author, I liked learning about some of the concepts from that culture that I was not aware of previously (like hikiomori).

Overall, I didn’t get quite as much out of this book as I would have liked, but it was also a quick read. I might pick up another book by this author in the future.

Have you read many books by authors from other cultures or backgrounds? Let me know in the comments (above).

Find more of my book reviews here.

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