The Cat Who Saved Books by Sosuke Natsukawa
Published on August 01, 2022
Reviewed by Marybeth Ginsberg
After his mother died, Rintaro Natsuki went to live with his grandfather. A high school student at the opening of the novel, readers learn that Rintaro is suddenly orphaned when his grandfather passes away unexpectedly in his sleep.
An ordinary boy who prefers books to sports, Rintaro suddenly finds himself cast into adventure when a plump, ginger, talking tabby cat approaches him in his grandfather’s book shop. Tiger quickly enlists Rintaro’s help on a mission to “save” books.
Suddenly Rintaro embarks on a sequence of fantastical quests as the back walls of his grandfather’s book shop magically dissolve and become the passageway into other dreamlike worlds. Starting with his second quest, Rintaro is accompanied by Sayo, an outspoken high school classmate who can also hear Tiger, the magical cat. The fourth and final quest is the most challenging of all as it requires Rintaro to muster all the determination he can to find his way through a dark, endless corridor in order to spare his friend.
If you love books, then you will enjoy this delightful novel. “More than words on paper” books have the power to nurture relationships. With help from his friends, Rintaro grows to be prepared for a world that goes well beyond the walls of his grandfather’s book shop. Readers stay grounded in the lessons that Rintaro learns about the power of books as they enjoy Rintaro’s fantastical journey of discovery and growth (younger readers may especially enjoy this fanciful style of storytelling). Rintaro’s journey of self-discovery reminds us of the transcending power of books and the search for truth. I think both younger and older readers alike will enjoy this captivating novel.
“Sosuke Natsukawa is a doctor in Nagano, Japan. His first book, Kamisama no karute (“God’s medical records”), a novel drawn from his experiences working as a physician in a small hospital, won the Shogakukan Fiction Price and received second place at the Japan Bookseller Awards. It sold over 1.5 million copies and was adapted into a hit film in Japan” (The Cat Who Saved Books, 2021).
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐