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The Guest Cat (Ndp) Paperback – January 28, 2014


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Product Details

  • Series: Ndp
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (January 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811221504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811221504
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“What initially reads like free association turns out to be a near-microscopic record of emotion and phenomena.” (Alan Gilbert - The Believer)

About the Author

Takashi Hiraide was born in Moji, Kitakyushu in 1950. He has published numerous books of poetry as well as several books of genre-bending essays, including one on poetics and baseball. He currently lives in the west suburbs of Tokyo with a cat and his wife, the poet Michiyo Kawano.

Eric Selland lives in Tokyo. He is the author of The Condition of Music, Inventions, and Still Lifes.

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Customer Reviews

Slow and boring.
MikeinPhl
I would recommend this book to everyone, especially cat lovers.
Susan K Bryant
Beautifully written, engaging story.
Mamie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By John Clayton on January 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This short, poetic novel will surprise you. The sensibility reminds me of a Miyazaki film, with logic taking second place to emotion in a sensitive exploration of love and loss. While it centers on a young couple's relationship, the story isn't really about their relationship. The story is about two human beings opening up to life itself, through their love of a playful cat.

Now, that sounds syrupy, but it's not. It's real. And the Japanese setting is perfectly accessible to an American reader. When I picked it up I planned to read for just a minute or two, but I was too focused to put it down until I had read it straight through, something I haven't done since childhood. A remarkable book.

However, children and dunderheads would not appreciate it. Let them read Garfield.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Denis Vukosav TOP 100 REVIEWER on January 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
“The Guest Cat” written by Takashi Hiraide is a nice story about human alienation, a routine that slowly kills what is most precious in our lives - closeness and love for the people closest to us.

In the center of the story is a young couple who live in a rented Tokyo house. Although given their thirties they are not decades together, their life had already turned into a survival from day to day, while they are doing their copy-editing job at home, having little to say to each other.
And then one day in their home will appear an uninvited guest, a small cat who will be coming back again and again each day bringing a sparkle in their boring and repeating daily routine.
Though they themselves will not notice this lovely animal is slowly becoming much more than a likeable pet of which they take care – this small cat will become a new bond between the two of them, a bridge that will reconnect the two human beings that although together are two lonely persons…

Though very short, this interesting story that comes from the literature that is not so known brings a universal story that nowadays can be told anywhere in the world; busy life, routine, everyday care about (annoying) daily obligations, will lead to the situation that slowly everything that connects us with people with whom we live will be put aside – and if we don’t make an effort, a place where we live and spend time will be turned into a place where really we just sleep together.

The cat is here used by author as symbol; instead any other animal or some joint interest that stands out from work could have been used, providing them escape from everyday routine and help them to start noticing each other again.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By H. Reed on January 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book. Just as the cat came to this endearing Japanese couple through the crack in their fence and the slight opening of their window, my heart was cracked open that much wider by this story. I tried to keep my distance, but could not - I was sobbing by the end, swept up in the same grief felt by this couple. What was captured perhaps most beautifully, expertly was the paradox of our human yearning to have/own/keep that which is beautiful, perfect, and yet ultimately fleeting and mysterious.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By C.Q. Darrell on January 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Literature has perhaps always been driven by tragedy, and there seems to be growing conviction that only spectacular tragedy of high intensity will do. Honesty, we seem to believe, exists only in the stark and the brutal, and as such, death is not sufficient to the truth of the human condition: we must have violent death, suicide, rape, murder, and/or betrayal. Hiraide's novel rejects this premise. While conviction is not a word one hears often in the discussion of literary fiction, (primarily, I think, because of the word's moral connotations), to write a novel in which no one is killed or violated, in which no one deed has catastrophic consequences, and no dramatic event serves as a hook, takes great conviction. To write such a narrative, one must believe that the dignity and drama of everyday human existence warrants novel-length attention, that a reader need not be bribed with titillating violence or perverse desolation, and moreover that paying such attention will be a boon to the reader.

While The Guest Cat shares aesthetic affinities with Shusaku Endo's Deep River and Yukio Mishma's The Sound of Waves, the novel most closely resembles Fumiko Enchi's The Waiting Years. The Guest Cat is a novel of understated conviction that offers the reader a straightforward story set in a minor key and rendered in precise, simple prose, and the effect is staggering. One feels the depth, intensity, mystery, and urgency of human existence like a pulse in nearly every page and image, and the result of Hiraide's conviction is a novel that invites the reader to rediscover the layers of her/his own existence, to discover how a cat can become something more, something deeply moving that one clings to because s/he must, and because doing so brings her/his life into focus.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By B. Allyn on January 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
A good book, it probably translated into French a good bit more elegantly than english. You can tell the author is a Japanese poet in the turns of phrase, the careful attention to the seasons and the awareness of emotion that has been woven into every line. A very short read, it flows like haiku, the carefully measured writing of a specific time, a specific place and a specific emotion and then just ends. More of a slice of life than a story.
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