21 Jan / The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, translated by Philip Gabriel [in Booklist]
For those of us in need of a few hours of joyful catharsis, listen up. Despite a narrative driven by impending separation, the gratifying delight is well worth the tears. Narrator George Blagden effortlessly embodies this charming man-and-beast love story, so guilelessly gentle as Satoru and exactly sassy as Satoru’s cat, Nana.
Stray since birth, Nana is feistily independent but doesn’t mind that Satoru regularly provides easy meals. When a car accident leaves Nana with a broken leg, he reluctantly realizes Satoru might be his only chance at recovery. Reminded of another cat he loved and lost in childhood, Satoru readily takes Nana in. Their bond, of course, deepens symbiotically over the years.
One day, Satoru places Nana’s basket in his van, and the two embark on a road trip in search of a new home – albeit not necessarily together. As Satoru relives his past through multiple stops across Japan, Nana acts as his wry commentator. Blagden seamlessly becomes Satoru’s closest friends over decades past – his late parents, the aunt who raised him – and even the many pets Nana encounters (and dismisses) along the way. With meticulous tenderness, Blagden ensures an affecting journey of love lost and found.
Published: 2018 (United States)