The Guest Cat

Takashi Hiraide

For the past few years I’ve been doing the Goodreads Reading Challenge and this year I uncharacteristically got quite behind on my goal, so recently I’ve been reading a lot of short books to catch up. It’s actually been nice to get to books that have been on my list for a long time — like Annie John — and though it felt a bit like cheating at first, I’ve been enjoying my reading so much lately that I’m starting to think lengthiness in writing may be very overrated.

The Guest Cat a quiet story about a couple who once lived in the guesthouse of a large manor located off an alleyway. They both worked from home writing/editing and though they were not allowed to have (or were interested in having) pets, their neighbors’ cat Chibi began visiting them, and they developed a special relationship with the cat. It’s really a simple story, but the way the man describes their house and Chibi and their alley all creates a sweet, elegiac feeling. This short book captures a very specific time and place that you understand early on is no longer there for them to go back to, but it takes most of the story to understand exactly why.