THE GUEST CAT by Takashi Hiraide

A most unusual little book for the Western reader to read, digest and ponder over. This has been translated from the Japanese - the Japanese author is a well known poet. So not surprising that the writing is very lyrical with each word carefully and precisely chosen. This lends to the story a gentle and intensely thoughtful tone,  such things noticeable lacking in so much of our busy challenging lives. We are constantly told to be more mindful, pause, take a break, just sit and be. This little book of 136 well spaced pages demands that you do just this very thing - sit, read and be very present in the writing.

Cats mesmerise us humans, and in the country that gave the world Maru, cats are adored, obsessed over. The couple in this story don't own a cat, but as so many of us can testify to, a cat sort of adopts them - the guest cat. This book is the story of the relationship between cat and humans that evolves, and the profound change it brings to the husband and wife. Not a lot happens, in fact for much of the book, nothing at all happens. It is just a gentle meditation on life, what we are doing, how we relate to each other. It didn't leave an enormous impression on me - I have my own nutty relationship with cats - but it is very beautiful, and certainly touches a spot in the heart. 

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