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This week’s review: The Travelling Cat Chronicles
The Travelling Cat Chronicles | Hiro Arikawa | 2018, 277 pages | Fiction
Satoru Miyawaki adopts an injured stray cat and calls it Nana. He names him Nana because his tail is crooked into the shape of a seven – and seven is a lucky number. Satoru and Nana set off on a journey in his silver van to visit Satoru’s childhood friends, who all live in other parts of Japan. The story is told by Nana, the cat. Nana’s voice can be no-nonsense, funny and snarky. Satoru enjoys seeing his old friends, and they talk about their childhood and school days. Nana comments on Satoru’s friends and their pets.
Satoru is looking for someone to take in Nana. He doesn’t say why, and his friends don’t press him. As they travel in the silver van Nana sees some things for the first time – the beach and the ocean, horses, forests of white birches and mountain ash, and a sea of pampas grass. They listen to music and even take a huge white ship to an island to visit Satoru’s Aunt Noriko.
At one point, Nana and Satoru become separated, and Nana goes back to his street cat ways in order to be with Satoru again. This is a charming story of a journey, but it also shows the values of friendship and family. The bond between Satoru and Nana is strong, and they go to great lengths to take care of each other. Their journey was a trip of a lifetime, shared by steadfast friends, Satoru and Nana.