Author: Sosuke Natsukawa
Genre: Magical Realism
Publication Date: December 7, 2021
Book Description: Bookish high school student Rintaro Natsuki is about to close the secondhand bookstore he inherited from his beloved bookworm grandfather. Then, a talking cat appears with an unusual request. The feline asks for—or rather, demands—the teenager’s help in saving books with him. The world is full of lonely books left unread and unloved, and the cat and Rintaro must liberate them from their neglectful owners.
Their mission sends this odd couple on an amazing journey, where they enter different mazes to set books free. Through their travels, the cat and Rintaro meet a man who leaves his books to perish on a bookshelf, an unwitting book torturer who cuts the pages of books into snippets to help people speed read, and a publishing drone who only wants to create bestsellers. Their adventures culminate in one final, unforgettable challenge—the last maze that awaits leads Rintaro down a realm only the bravest dare enter . . .
An enthralling tale of books, first love, fantasy, and an unusual friendship with a talking cat, The Cat Who Saved Books is a story for those for whom books are so much more than words on paper.
Translated from the Japanese by Louise Heal Kawai.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: Let me preface that I absolutely hate magical realism, with the exception of when a Japanese author writes them. For people who love books (which I assume is anyone reading this), this will charm the pants off of you.
Rintaro is our protagonist. He is a teen who just lost his beloved grandfather. For the short term Rintaro is working at the bookstore that his grandfather owned until it officially closes. One morning an orange tabby cat walks in and asks Rintaro to go to another realm and save books from owners who might not deserve them. He might not be able to return, but decides to go along with these missions.
This takes Rintaro, and a high school friend of his and the cat on extraordinary journeys. With each one he has to overcome selfish, uncaring people who take for granted to the books they read and hold, until his last test, which is hardest of them all.
This book takes on many meanings. Yes, we all want to save the books, but it poses another question, of what happens to the lives of the people after these meetings.
Any book lover will adore this short book. I found myself smiling throughout the entire read. Rintaro discovers his true self within these pages and it is fun to watch. Just go read this one, you will not regret it.
Thank you NetGalley and HarperVia for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.