Review of 'If Cats Disappeared from the World'

If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura

if_cats_disappeared.jpg A wonderfully touching short novel from Genki Kawamura who may be better known in Japan for his involvement in Japanese Animation.

A young man working as a postman and living with a cat called “Cabbage” learns his days are numbered. The devil in the form of a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt (therefore nicknamed “Aloha” by the young man) approaches him with a proposal: If he is able to nominate one thing in the world for the devil to remove he can live another day. The first thing he has removed are phones then thinks on the impact has on his life which, on reflection, is filled with regrets: The loss of his girlfriend, his mother and his estrangement from his father. As he buys further days of life he comes to better understand himself and what is really important.

It is no doubt that most readers will probably shed a tear or two reading this book that manages to somehow not be silly despite the absurd premise and events it contains. The easy-to-read prose is fulled of introspection exposing truths many people often hide from themselves. As a reader, it is easy to relate to the narrator who is trying to coming to terms with his own mortality, reflecting on the mistakes of his past. “If Cats Disappeared” is a modern morality tale that manages to have a light yet meaningful touch.

A gentle, but moving short story of coming to terms with who we are and what is important in life. Yes, the silly title is relevant but the truths this book holds are far from silly.

Rating:

Review Date: 2020-05-23


Genre: General Fiction

Publisher: Picador

Publication Date: 2018

ISBN: 9781509889174