Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Released: 20th of September 2018
Our narrator’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat Cabbage for company, he was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. But before he can set about tackling his bucket list, the Devil appears with a special offer: in exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, he can have one extra day of life. And so begins a very bizarre week . . .
Because how do you decide what makes life worth living? How do you separate out what you can do without from what you hold dear? In dealing with the Devil our narrator will take himself – and his beloved cat – to the brink. Genki Kawamura's If Cats Disappeared from the World is a story of loss and reconciliation, of one man’s journey to discover what really matters in modern life.
What I Have to Say
This book was very weird, but not in a bad way. The concept alone is very quirky and the way that Kawamura describe death was also strange, but very interesting. There was definitely a lot of symbolism to find there. In general, the book is extremely philosophical, looking at various things that seem like they don't matter that much but make the world very different when they are missing from it.
The cat, Cabbage. Was definitely the best part. I don't want to give anything away, but we had a real glimpse at his personality and the way he saw the world. And having a cat called Cabbage was always going to be a way into my heart. Cabbage and Lettuce are beautiful creatures and the world would definitely not be as good without them!
As someone who reads a fair amount of Japanese literature, I was able to put up with some of the style differences, but if this is the first book that you're reading that was originally written in Japanese, you may find it off-putting. The flashbacks flow on from the text, instead of being separated into a separate scene and the narrator tends to go off on tangents a lot before casually rejoining the scene. Also, some of the translators choices felt a bit off to me, especially in case of thinking something rather than speaking it. In Japanese thoughts are written very much like speech, with "I thought" coming after the thing that is being thought. If felt to me like much of these sentences were fairly directly translated, meaning that you think that the character is saying something aloud when it's actually only thought. This was very off-putting when it happened.
Overall though, it was an interesting concept and a fun story.
So if you could have an extra day of life but something had to disappear from the world in exchange, what would you get rid of? Would you be able to live without cats?
Let me know in the comments!
My thanks go to Netgalley and Picador for providing me with this copy for review.