Book Review: The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, Translated by Philip Gabriel


Book Title and Author: The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
Publication Date and Publisher: October 23, 2018 by Berkley Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Animals, Cultural
Pages: 288 pages
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Date Read: November 1, 2018 (e-arc)

5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

Nana the cat is on a road trip. He is not sure where he’s going or why, but it means that he gets to sit in the front seat of a silver van with his beloved owner, Satoru. Side by side, they cruise around Japan through the changing seasons, visiting Satoru’s old friends. He meets Yoshimine, the brusque and unsentimental farmer for whom cats are just ratters; Sugi and Chikako, the warm-hearted couple who run a pet-friendly B&B; and Kosuke, the mournful husband whose cat-loving wife has just left him. There’s even a very special dog who forces Nana to reassess his disdain for the canine species. 

But what is the purpose of this road trip? And why is everyone so interested in Nana? Nana does not know and Satoru won’t say. But when Nana finally works it out, his small heart will break…

My Review:

The Traveling Cat Chronicles is one of the most beautiful and poignant books that I’ve read this year. There has never been a time in my life where I’ve not had a cat (or cats) for a pet so as a cat lover, an animal lover in general, this gem of a book just really touched me to the depths of my heart with the way it fully captured the bond between human and pet, and the intelligence and understanding of cats to know so much and really be here for us when we need them!

Nana is a carefree, nameless stray enjoying his life, sleeping on the nice man, Satoru’s warm silver van and eating the yummy crunchies Satoru leaves him until one fateful day a car hits him, breaks his leg, and leaves him in oh, so much pain. Nana, being an intelligent cat, knows Satoru will come to help him if he howls loudly enough, which he does.

That is the how Satoru ends up with the beautiful cat who looks just like Hachi, the beloved cat he had as a pet when he was just a boy. Only this cat has a tail that is crooked like the number seven, nana, which is where Nana gets his new name. The two quickly bond, become best friends, and share five wonderful years together.

That’s why it’s so surprising and upsetting to Nana when Satoru takes him on a road trip to find him a new home. Yet things don’t go as planned when Satoru visits one friend after the other, all who are willing to take Nana, since Nana has no intentions of leaving his owner’s side, no matter the reason. He’s Satoru’s cat and always will be…

As Nana takes this journey with his owner Saturo, it’s a bittersweet, humorous, joyful, and touching story of not just their friendship but of the wonderful friendships Satoru shares with people from his past. I loved how the book reveals Satoru’s childhood and teenage years as each friend is visited. It was a perfect way to show how he’d grown into such a kind and loving man. I really love how the story is mostly narrated by Nana! He’s smart, wise, witty, sarcastic, compassionate, loving, and all the things that I see in my cat, Chloe (although she’s got quite a temper!) and in every cat I’ve had the honor to love and be loved by in return.

This marvelous book explores friendships, unconditional love, and letting go. I admit that although I read this book in a day and a half, that I had to stop several times because I just cried and cried many times-it will definitely pull at your heartstrings! This should be a must read book for any pet lover although I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a sweet, very special book that makes you feel good inside.

**Thank you Edelweiss and Berkley Publishing for the ARC to read in exchange for my fair and honest review.**

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27 thoughts on “Book Review: The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, Translated by Philip Gabriel

  1. I just finished reading this book as well!! What a coincidence, and as usual, Stephanie, you brilliantly and eloquently expresses my thoughts on my behalf. I really envy your talent in writing reviews! Stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How funny! I did think about you while reading the book since his aunt was named Noriko too!! Thank you, Noriko! You always so kind. You write beautifully too…I’ll have to look for your review. I’m sure it’s lovely too. 😊❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know! It was actually a bit funny and I felt weird to hear my name repeatedly in the audiobook. That was definitely a rare experience!
        Thank you so much for such sweet words, you’ve always been so kind ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s a beautiful book. A bit of a slow beginning but a Japanese friend said that was traditional with their writing…the take their time and are gentle in the storytelling, which this definitely was. I’m glad you’re adding it!


  2. This sounds like such a heartwarming read and I love the personification of the cat. I have always loved cats so I think i’d enjoy this one too. Beautiful review, Stephanie.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never heard of this book but I need to read it! What a fantastic review Stephanie! I love cats, I’ve only adopted black ones, my first I got in college and he lived 19 years and my second is 8 now. They are just the best pets:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so good!! If you love cats, you’ll love Nana and his perspective on life ! It’s a slow, serene, tranquil read, not quite like our “regular” reads…a Japanese friend/blogger (Noriko) explained that’s how the Japanese write. They want the story to beautifully unfold in a serene way even if there’s drama. It definitely picks up halfway but it’s still serenely lovely. Anyway!! I’ve had cats since I was a little girl and couldn’t imagine life without them! I had a black cat named Rosebud when I was little, she lived about 15 years. Then the very 1st thing my husband gave me when we got married was a black kitten! We had no furniture but I had a kitten, lol. Her name was Jasmine and she lived 12 yrs. We’ve always had multiple cats at a time until now as our oldest cats have passed and only have Chloe now, a gray calico, who is 9. They really are! I love my dogs too though! ❤


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