Saturday 4 September 2021

Book Review: The Cat Who Saved Books by Natsukawa Sosuke (Fantasy/Magical Realism)

Title: The Cat Who Saved Books
Author: Natsukawa Sosuke
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: 14 September 2021
Pages: 220
Format: Paperback
Genre: Fantasy/Magical Realism
Source: ARC from Publisher


Bookish high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookshop he inherited from his beloved grandfather. Then, a talking cat named Tiger appears with an unusual request. The cat needs Rintaro’s help to save books that have been imprisoned, destroyed and unloved.

Their mission sends this odd couple on an amazing journey, where they enter different labyrinths to set books free. Through their travels, Tiger and Rintaro meet a man who locks up his books, an unwitting book torturer who cuts the pages of books into snippets to help people speed read, and a publisher who only wants to sell books like disposable products. Then, finally, there is a mission that Rintaro must complete alone . . .

An enthralling tale of books, first love, fantasy, and an unusual friendship with a talking cat,
The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa, translated by Louise Heal Kawai, is a story for those for whom books are so much more than words on paper.


The Cat Who Saved Books is a quirky and sweet contemporary fairytale that celebrates books and reading. When Rintaro meets a talking cat called Tiger, he must travel into a fantastical world in order to rescue books that are being 'mistreated', and in doing so he comes to ponder what books offer us and how that meaning could have resonance within his own life. This is a quick and easy read, but one that also offers food for thought. It will delight booklovers, while also making them think about what books mean to them and why they read them. If you enjoyed some of the other Japanese 'cat' stories from recent years, then this one should please you too. I also recommend it for anyone who generally loves contemporary Japanese fiction with a magical realism twist. It gets 4.5 stars for me.

I received this book as a free ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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