Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Guest Cat, by Takashi Hiraide. New Directions. Written 2001; translated 2008

A couple in their 30s live in a small house on the property of a larger, older house. Childless, they spend their days working from home, writing and editing, and not interacting all that much. Then one day the neighbor’s cat comes into their house like it belongs there. The next day it returns. And again after that. While she won’t let them pick her up and she won’t get in a lap, she does accept offerings of cat food and fried mackerel. She becomes what I call a time share cat. And she changes their lives. Not in any sudden, large, ways, but slowly they begin to interact and to see the beauty in the garden their house sits in. She is ephemeral in their lives but lasting in her effect on them.

It’s a precious little story (the book is quite short). The book itself seems precious; the size of an old style pocket book, albeit thinner, with a wonderful ink drawing of a cat peering over a table’s edge. It’s like a little jewel, and yet contains so much in a subtle way: aging, death, relationships, spirituality, and being in the moment. Sit in a quiet place and read this book. 

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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a jewel. Will have to look for it at the library.