A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Friday, July 16, 2021

FLASHBACK FRIDAY- The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, Philip Gabriel (Translator) - Feature and Review


Sometimes you have to leave behind everything you know to find the place you truly belong... 

Nana the cat is on a road trip. He is not sure where he's going or why, but it means that he gets to sit in the front seat of a silver van with his beloved owner, Satoru. Side by side, they cruise around Japan through the changing seasons, visiting Satoru's old friends. He meets Yoshimine, the brusque and unsentimental farmer for whom cats are just ratters; Sugi and Chikako, the warm-hearted couple who run a pet-friendly B&B; and Kosuke, the mournful husband whose cat-loving wife has just left him. There's even a very special dog who forces Nana to reassess his disdain for the canine species.

But what is the purpose of this road trip? And why is everyone so interested in Nana? Nana does not know and Satoru won't say. But when Nana finally works it out, his small heart will break...



 The Travelling Cat ChroniclesThe Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, Philip Gabriel (Translator) is a 2018 Viking publication. (Originally published in 2012).

An emotional, poignant story featuring an amazing cat named Nana-

Nana is a stray cat who enjoys sleeping in the sun on the hood of a van, and tolerating humans if necessary, especially if he is given crunchy bits to eat.

But, when tragedy strikes, by way of getting hit by a car, Nana is taken in by the human, Satoru, the van owner who leaves him food. Satoru names him Nana, because his crooked tail is shaped like the Japanese number seven. They have some great times together, but suddenly, after several years, Satoru, must re-home his beloved cat.

So, he goes on a journey with Nana, to find him a new home.

The journey takes us back in time to Satoru’s childhood where we learn about his life and his friendships and relationship with a cat he knew before he had Nana, for whom he still mourns. He gets to reconnect with old friends, but has a hard time finding someone who can take Nana.

Nana is our storyteller and narrates this journey in a way only a cat could. If you are a cat lover, you will know exactly what I mean. Nana, of course, knows in his infinite wisdom, the lessons that will enlighten Satoru, and the reader, upon his journey.

This is such a wonderful fable, despite the tearjerker premise, centering on friendship, and human connections. Satoru may have led a life of isolation, but he is a such a warm -hearted man, and of course I recognized in him a fellow ‘cat person’, which endeared him to me, even more. But, perhaps to those who may feel cats are too aloof for your taste, this book dispels that notion, in countless ways.

We realize right away that Satoru is helping Nana, taking care of him even before his accident, giving him a very nice, pampered life. We see what a gentle soul, he is, despite some very difficult times in his life. But it is what Nana does for Satoru that is at the heart of the story. What Satoru learns on their journey and how Nana remains his best friend, is loyal to him in all ways, and eternally grateful, will bring tears to your eyes.

Yes, this story is sentimental and bittersweet, but the message is profound, despite or maybe because of its simplicity, and will resonate with pet lovers of all stripes, but certainly to those who have a truly special bond with their feline companions.




Hiro Arikawa (有川浩 Arikawa Hiro, born on June 9, 1972) is a Japanese writer. She is from Kōchi Prefecture. She is known for Library War (図書館戦争 Toshokan sensou). Library War won the Seiun Award in 2008.

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