I immediately feel bad that I couldn’t help thinking about Haruki Murakami while listening to this one. It’s a somewhat uncomfortable truth that while reading a contemporary Japanese writer, of thinking of the most famous Japanese writer. But in the last year I’ve read a handful of other Japanese writers, so I do feel better about it. But the thing is, this is definitely similar to Murakami. It’s a small novel about domestic spaces, particularly a small set of houses that “share” a cat who visits them during the daytime. He is no one house’s cat either. Instead, as the title suggests, he’s the guest cat. The novel is set up as a series of journals in which the narrator is now compiling as a novel. So that’s the whole thing.
There’s a few interesting and good things about the nature of cats and cat ownership, but there’s not much actual novel here. There’s some real moments here and there, but for the most part this is a small novel about small things, but I didn’t really find anything substantial to draw me in and get me thinking. I mean I thought about cats, and my relationship with my cats, but it didn’t give something to think about with life in general. Instead I was left thinking a lot about the nature of the novel, of novels in general, and then about how this novel fits within that. And then I thought a lot about how this novel simply feels like a novel with the magic of being a novel.