The Guest Cat, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (4 ratings)


The Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo.

They work at home as freelance writers. They no longer have very much to say to one another.

One day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen.

She is a beautiful creature. She leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again.

New, small joys accompany the cat; the days have more light and colour.

Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife; they go walking together, talk and share stories of the cat and its little ways, play in the nearby Garden.

But then something happens that will change everything again. The Guest Cat is an exceptionally moving and beautiful novel about the nature of life and the way it feels to live it.

Written by Japanese poet and novelist Takashi Hiraide, the book won Japan's Kiyama Shohei Literary Award, and was a bestseller in France and America.


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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

‘Then she told me about a philosopher who said that observation is at its core an expression of love which doesn’t get caught up in sentiment’. An unsentimental love story about Chibi, the cat who ignores boundaries? An elegy for the days spent living in a tiny guest house with access to the main property’s perfect garden? Or a reflection on a time of change in Japanese society? Whichever way you look at it, a short and lovely book. An impulse purchase I’m glad of. This novella may take just a day to read, but goes on resonating.

Review by

This is a thoughtful, philosophical tale about the impact an animal can have on people, even when they don't own the animal. It captures the aloof exploitative nature of a cat who charms a couple with its independence and seeming unavailability. When the cat disappears from their lives, it leaves them bereft and causes friction between them and their neighbour, the cat's true owner. Set on the cusp of change, from Showa to Heisei, from economic bubble to slump, it inhabits a calm space bound by feline comings and goings.

Review by

This was very cute. Not as much about the cat as I had expected, more a rambling of the author's life. But still, a fun and quick read.

Review by

A novella and a gentle tale narrated through the eyes of the main male character. Chiba, next door's cat, comes into his life and he meditates on the effects of having Chiba around on him and his wife. A contemplative story which is very understated in the writing.

Also by Takashi Hiraide