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THE CAT WHO SAVED BOOKS by Sosuke Natsukawa


by Sosuke Natsukawa

Pub Date: Dec. 7th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-06-309572-4
Publisher: HarperVia

A young Japanese bookseller sets out to rescue books in peril—with the help of a most unusual feline.

After the death of his beloved guardian and grandfather, high school student Rintaro Natsuki drifts into running his grandfather's rare bookshop while waiting to be sent to live with an aunt he doesn't know. Rintaro is a hikikomari—socially withdrawn and isolated from most activities—and finds comfort and meaning in the books so precious to his plainspoken and well-meaning grandfather. His quiet, solitary life is disrupted when, in a bolt of magical realism, a talking tabby cat named Tiger enlists his help in rescuing "books that have been imprisoned." Some of the victimized books are locked away from readers by collectors, others are mutilated by abridgment and summarization, and more are treated as commodities by publishing conglomerates. Rintaro undertakes the challenges assisted by the saucy cat few humans can see, and his quests resemble the tests posed to heroes in myth, legend, and video game. His growing awareness of the attentions of persistently positive schoolmate Sayo lends the tale a gentle wholesomeness. Rescuing the story from sappiness are references to the classic books on the store's shelves, mostly from the Western canon, that have formed Rintaro’s belief system. Lovers of traditional literature and books themselves will find validation in the lessons Rintaro learns (and teaches), while the story’s structure and fanciful nature may hold appeal for a young adult audience more familiar with the conventions of gaming. Tiger gets the best lines of dialogue but…why not?

Cats, books, young love, and adventure: catnip for a variety of readers!