The Guest Cat

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Read 30/01/2015

Rating: 3 stars

I love cats. My cat adopted me 16 years ago. My best friend Mandy bought me The Guest Cat because she knows me really well.

It’s a thoughtful, philosophical tale about the impact an animal can have on people, even when they don’t own the animal. It captures the aloof exploitative nature of a cat who charms a couple with its independence and seeming unavailability. When the cat disappears from their lives, it leaves them bereft and causes friction between them and their neighbour, the cat’s true owner. Set on the cusp of change, from Shōwa to Heisei, from economic bubble to slump, it inhabits a calm space bound by feline comings and goings.

I read it during a train journey from Manchester to York and back. There is an unexpected event about halfway through that hit me squarely in the reading equivalent of the solar plexus but, that aside, it’s a fun read. I appreciated the honest depiction of the titular feline as a creature that got the most out of the owners of the house she uses as a hotel without giving too much back. I also enjoyed the exploration of the impact that having a cat in your life, whether looked for or not, can have on your life. Good stuff!

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