Review: The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa


Title: The Cat Who Saved Books

Author: Sosuke Natsukawa; Translation: Louise Heal Kawai

Published: 14th September 2021, Picador

Status: Read September 2021 courtesy Pan Macmillan Australia



My Thoughts:


Translated from the original Japanese, The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa is a quirky, fantastical tale that celebrates the importance of not only books and reading, but also human connection.

Seventeen year old Rintaro Natsuki is devastated by the sudden passing of the grandfather who has raised him, and takes refuge in the second hand bookshop he has inherited. When an orange tabby cat slinks into the store and speaks to him, Rintaro wonders if grief and stress have taken their toll, but the cat, who introduces itself as Tiger, insists that Rintaro’s help is desperately needed, and leads him through the store into an alternate world to conquer the first of what will be four challenges to ‘free’ books from various states of peril.

Each ‘labyrinth’ requires Rintaro to convince someone to recognise that books are more than just objects, from a wealthy man who hoards books as a status symbol, to a publisher who discards the old for the new. There isn’t anything subtle about the observations made in The Cat Who Saved Books, and they express ideas most inveterate readers would agree with. Eventually Rintaro is required to convince a wizened but sinister figure that books and reading have value to humanity, and hold a unique power.

“I think the power of books is that- they teach us to care about others. It’s a power that gives people courage and also supports them in turn….Empathy – that’s the power of books.”

In between these quests, Rintaro who identifies as a hikikomori (a Japanese term loosely translated as a shut-in or extreme introvert) is left to ponder on the lack of balance in his own life from his own habit of taking refuge in books to avoid human connection and experience. This is illustrated by the connection he forms with a persistent classmate, Sayo Yuzuki.

Though I feel the tone is skewed towards a young adult audience, The Cat Who Saved Books is a charming, uncomplicated story that will speak to the soul of book lovers.


Available from Pan Macmillan Australia

Or from your preferred retailer

via Booko I Book Depository I Booktopia I Amazon

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  2. Jen at Introverted Reader
    Jan 06, 2022 @ 11:46:35

    This sounds lovely. I’ll have to look for it.

    Liked by 1 person


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