A cat, a man and two women
LuciaT wrote about this book, saying that, unlike most cases, the cat is not merely a pretext, but an actual character around who the other three gravitate. And that was, I think, the main reason I bought the book, which turned out to be really wonderful.
I don’t have a cat (yet) but I have friends who are cat owners and I recognized a lot of the cat owner’s habits described so accurately that I smiled to myself quite a lot. Through these 100 pages (it’s a really short novel) the love for cats, the detailed description of a cat’s every move, every blink and every sound or tone of voice, every mood is touching. You feel like you know the animal, like it’s your own 😀 This cat Lily, is the center of Shozo’s life, a man in his early 30s, married for a second time to a cousin of his, Fukuko (this is in the pre-WWII Japan), after banishing his first wife, Shinako. Because his love and connection to the cat are so strong, both women are jealous, and try to make the animal a pawn in their attempt to keep or reconquest the man. How or whether they will succeed seemes of less importance compared to the time dedicated to the cat by Shozo, since Lily is the only thing he truly loves and his home, in a way. The book exudes such a charm – probably because of Mr. Tanizaki’s simple and concise writing – that it’s a shame not to read it, especially since it’ll take only a couple of hours.
Euphemistically speaking 😀 , I don’t know much about Japanese literature, but there’s an Introduction to the book, which says that the plot has taken a lot of recognizable (to those who have read it 😛 ) elements from “The tale of Genji” – not surprising perhaps since Mr. Tanizaki was the first to translate it into modern japanese 🙂 . Mr. Tanizaki, though not as popular worldwide as contemporary writers Haruki or Ryu Murakami, certainly opened the gates for them, since he was one of the first to insert Western elements into the very traditional Japanese literature – one of the reasons why he is definitely worth checking out 😉
“Era un miorlait pe un ton pe care el nu il mai auzise pana aunci. Pisica nu spunea decat <miau>, dar in acel <miau> erau ascunse sensuri extraordinare, necuprinse in nici un <miau> de pana atunci.” How can this not melt your heart? 🙂