Wednesday, May 5, 2021

2021 - 73 - If Cats Disappeared from the World; Genki Kawamura















TITLE/AUTHORIf Cats Disappeared From the World; Genki Kawamura

PUBLISHER:  Flatiron Books

YEAR PUBLISHED: 2019 

GENRE: Fiction / Animals / Magical Realism

FORMAT:  print LENGTH: 168 pp.

SOURCE:  my shelves

SETTING(s):  Japan

ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  Given the opportunity, what might you have disappear from the earth to live one more day?

BRIEF REVIEW:   A young, unnamed postman lives alone with his cat Cabbage. He learns that he has stage 4 brain cancer and will be dead within six months but, there is a likelihood that his time will be up in just a week. What goes through one's mind when faced with such shocking news?

When the devil, decked out in a Hawaiian print shirt, shows up at his door and proposes a way to extend his life ---make one thing disappear from the earth and get an extra day to live--he's tempted to take him up on his offer. When he does, some of the first to go are cell phones, movies and clocks but, when it comes to considering having cats disappear maybe things have gone a bit too far.

This is a slim, well-translated novel (Eric Selland) about what constitutes a life well-lived. I felt the story was more heartwarming than sad and even a bit funny at times. The writing style was a bit unusual, consisting of mostly conversations and memories but, it didn't bother me.  As a cat lover and an introspective sort of person, I loved the story and the overall message.  It made me think about the things that are really important in life.  I also loved how it pointed out the importance of cats and their uncanny ability to know and understand when something is not right with a loved one.   HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

MEMORABLE QUOTES:  

"I'd always thought that when my time came, I'd go quietly, peacefully, and with dignity--that's how I always imagined it would happen.  But when death stares you in the face, you find yourself willing to accept a helping hand from anyone, even the devil, in order to stay alive.  It's basic human instinct.  Dignity and respectability fly out the window at that point."

"Mobile phones have been around for only about twenty years, but in just that short amount of time they've managed to take complete control over us. In the span of two decades something we don't really need has come to dominate our lives and make us believe we can't live without it.  When human beings invented the mobile phone, they also invented the anxiety that comes with not having one on you."

"They say that only humans can contemplate death. Cats don't fear it the same way we do.  It doesn't cause them the same level of anxiety that it does humans.  And then despite our angst over mortality, we end up keeping cats as pets, even though we know they will die long before we do, causing the owner immense grief."

"As you go on with your life, always remember the things that are good in you. They are your gifts. As long as you have these things, you'll find happiness, and you'll make people around you happy......"

"In exchange for another day of life, I erased from the face of the earth cell phones, movies, and clocks, but I just couldn't bring myself to get rid of cats...."

"A lot of people buy into that slogan Live life like there's no tomorrow. But I tend to disagree. Once you become aware of your impending death, you have to make a compromise in accepting the loss of the life you wish you could have led and the reality of your imminent death. Sure, there will always be regrets and broken dreams, but you have to go easy on yourself.  Over the last few days, I've come to realize there's a certain beauty in those regrets. They're proof of having lived."

"I was never able to be myself completely or live my life exactly how I wanted to. I'm not even sure if I ever figured out what exactly being myself and living out my dreams really meant.  So I guess I'm going to die with all those failures and regrets: all those unfulfilled dreams, all the people I've never met, all the things I never tasted and all the places I've never been. I'm taking all that with me to the grave, and I'm okay with that.  In the end, I'm satisfied with who I am and the life I've lived. I'm just happy to have been here at all."


27 comments:

  1. Seems I've changed my mind on this one based on your review.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sounds like a book I'd like even though I am more of a dog person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We pretty sure a dog lover would still find this one meaningful.

      Delete
  3. Hi there Diane! This sounds about gorgeous and I am adding it to my TBR list right now. Elza is going to love reading this with me.

    Thanks for sharing and your review is lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet she will and she might learn some new vocabulary words as well:)

      Delete
  4. What a fascinating premise! And I love all those quotes you chose. You've convinced me; I've gotta read this one. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love your cat photos, Diane!
    This book sounds truly wonderful. I enjoyed reading the quotations from the book. I love cats so much, although we don't have one right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks you and as I mentioned above, even dog fans will find much to think about with this one.

      Delete
  6. This is on my list to read.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This sounds really powerful. I get the feeling this is one of those books that would have me reaching for my journal to document all the thoughts I'd have after reading it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. But would life even be worth living if cats disappeared from Earth? I know my life would be a lot poorer. This sounds like a lovely read.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your cats are so sweet. I'm glad this was a winning read for you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Interesting plot idea, and it sounds like a deceptively deep book. I'll have to see if my library knows about this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sam, I've been having great luck in 2021 with Japanese translated fiction.

      Delete
  11. OK, now I'm totally hooked. I would have given this one a chance based on the title, but the quotes you chose make it feel like something I NEED to read. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, there were plenty of quotes that just spoke to me. Love when that happens.

      Delete
  12. What an interesting concept to have one thing disappear each day. What things would I mind not having? Certain plants? Insects? Animals? They all seem interconnected. It may seem easy to get rid of certain objects, but I'd be afraid of making a choice that affects the world. This sounds like a fun book despite the topic.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your cats must love the reading life. Lucy is at top with the little beard and Ricky is below. I hope they liked this book.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This sounds really good, I don’t think I could get rid of cats!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thanks again for visiting.