Sunday 26 September 2021

Book Review: I am a Cat by Natsume Soseki (Modern Classics)

Title: I Am a Cat
Author: Natsume Soseki
Publisher: Tuttle
Publication Date: 2001 (1905)
Pages: 480
Format: Paperback
Genre: Modern Classics
Source: Gift

Written from 1904 through 1906, Soseki Natsume's comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat, satirizes the foolishness of upper-middle-class Japanese society during the Meiji era. With acerbic wit and sardonic perspective, it follows the whimsical adventures of a world-weary stray kitten who comments on the follies and foibles of the people around him.

I Am a Cat is a delightful read as, through the eyes of our nameless cat narrator, we see the idiosyncrasies of the humans in Meiji-era Japan laid out. It is a witty and satirical commentary on a society adapting to the new ideas imported from the West, with some characters bemoaning the lost past while others are hungry for future prospects. The cat's dry reflections on what he observes are always amusing, as are his attempts to seek out new experiences and make sense of the world around him. The only downside of the book for me is the ending, which is sadder than I had anticipated.

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