The Guest Cat: Takashi Hiraide

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The Guest Cat: Takashi Hiraide

The Guest Cat: Takashi Hiraide

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verifyErrors }}{{ message }}{{ /verifyErrors }}{{ Takashi Hiraide, now in his mid-sixties, is one of the foremost post-war poets in Japan. He has won a litany of awards and released works covering an array of different genres and forms. The Guest Cat, considered to be both autobiographical and surrealist, won the Kiyama Shohei Literary Award in 2001. Takashi Hiraide was born in Moji, Kitakyushu in 1950. He has published numerous books of poetry as well as several books of genre-bending essays, including one on poetics and baseball. He currently lives in the west suburbs of Tokyo with a cat and his wife, the poet Michiyo Kawano.

On a positive note, there is an obvious appeal here for the cat-lover, despite Chibi’s appearances being brief. Having grown up with cats myself, there were certain descriptions that were nostalgically familiar and Chibi’s assumed role as muse and child makes her by far the most intriguing character of the book. The language and descriptions are careful, elegant and lovely; while Hiraide's book is ostensibly about a cat, it is more precisely about space and ownership. The book renders an unusually intimate, detailed and vivid picture of a place that is simultaneously private and open., New York Times Lyrical and captivating . . . I will revisit The Guest Cat with pleasure, much as I return to favourite poems and paintings and memories, Huffington Post One day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. She is a beautiful creature. She leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. New, small joys accompany the cat; the days have more light and colour. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife; they go walking together, talk and share stories of the cat and its little ways, play in the nearby Garden. But then something happens that will change everything again.There are meditative moments in The Guest Catthat promise profundity, but often they are centred on dry subjects like geometry or the housing market and the tone is one more suitable for a lecture than a piece of prose. There are references to figures in antiquity which poets are traditionally fond of, but again this only adds to a feeling of academic sterility. Throughout, there is also an attempt at a Zen, nature-driven wisdom, but the book never really reaches those heights nor offers much aside from that failed aspiration. The themes of the fragility of life and loneliness are intriguing, but the way they are discussed is neither fresh nor particularly interesting; neither does the narrator or supporting cast have very much to say. I remember reading a review of Murakami’s recent novel Colourless Tsukuru, in which the reviewer questioned the wisdom of having a dull central character. I feel the same question could be asked here. Starred Review. This is a beautiful, ornate read, brimming with philosophical observation, humor and intelligence, leaving the reader anticipating more translated works of Hiraide." - Publishers Weekly

Living with his wife in a quiet suburb of Tokyo, a writer is working hard to realise his ambition of becoming a full-time poet. The book opens with a description of a view through a window, highlighting the monotony of the protagonist’s protracted days. The couple live a slow, almost separate life; they say little to each other beyond the necessary. One day their chemistry is altered by the appearance of a beautiful young kitten they name ‘Chibi’ (roughly meaning small child in Japanese). Chibi gives the couple a common topic to discuss and a child-surrogate to fawn over. At all times, however, it is clear that Chibi is the neighbours’ cat, and her visits are accompanied with a sense of loss. Highlighting the Japanese notion of self and other, insiders and outsiders, the story discusses ideas of ownership and the selfishness this brings. The Guest Cat is a rare treasure . . . beautiful and profound . . . whether you're a cat lover or not, don't pass this one up, NPR Reading Paulette Jiles' revenge western Chenneville, it's easy to remember she's a poet. She plays ... A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo. They work at home as freelance writers. They no longer have very much to say to one another. A multifaceted tale that explores love and the fragility of life; the author creates an introspective, poetic story that's deeply moving. Cat lovers may be especially moved." - Kirkus


Ron Rash is renowned for his writing about Appalachia, but his latest book, The Caretaker, begins ... Eric Selland (translator) lives in Tokyo. He is the author of The Condition of Music, Inventions, and Still Lifes.

  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
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