Naturally, when I saw the title of this book, I was instantly drawn to it. It consists of literally my two favorite things in life: cats and books. When I read the book jacket, I was pretty pumped to find out that the cat would be talking as well and even more pleased when I realized how snarky the cat was. I certainly found this book to be funny, unique in its perspective, and I learned some Japanese words in the process.
Rintaro Natsuki is an awkward high school student who prefers to hide away in his late grandfather’s bookstore rather than going to school. He has been this way for months. As said in the novel, Rintaro is hikikomori which is severe social withdrawal where Japanese adolescents become recluses in their family’s home. When Rintaro’s grandfather dies, he is left with a stuffy bookstore he has called his second home and an aunt who has been chosen to take care of him, taking him away to an unknown town. His world changes when Tiger, a talking, orange tabby cat, comes into the bookstore and leaves Rintaro no choice but to help the cat with an interesting mission. The odd couple come and go from different labyrinths where books have to be saved from a man who lets books perish on his bookshelves and another man who cuts precious books to pieces in order to encourage “speed reading”. Rintaro forms an unlikely friendship with both the cat as well as someone unexpected.
This book is right up my alley. I always thought my obsession with keeping books in immaculate shape and treasuring them forever could be weird to some people. Apparently, there are a whole community of people across the world from me (and closer) who value books as much as I do!