Inside, towering shelves reached the ceiling, every one crammed full of wonderful books. Rintaro Natsuki loved this space that his grandfather had created. He spent many happy hours there, reading whatever he liked. It was the perfect refuge for a boy who tended to be something of a recluse.
After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro is devastated and alone. It seems he will have to close the shop. Then, a talking tabby cat called Tiger appears and asks Rintaro for help. The cat needs a book lover to join him on a mission. This odd couple will go on three magical adventures to save books from people who have imprisoned, mistreated and betrayed them. Finally, there is one last rescue that Rintaro must attempt alone . . .
Cats and Books. This novel had me before I even got to the first page.
There is something whimsical about the front cover that immediately pulled me in.
This book is only about 224 pages so it isn’t a long read but it’s an interesting, sweet, compelling story.
Rintaro is a guarded character at the beginning as he is grieving the loss of his beloved Grandfather and is facing a complete life change as a result. He is due to move and has to put his Grandfather’s bookshop up for sale. I think he’s someone a lot of people will find relatable and easy to empathise with.
Instead of going to school, Rintaro decides to work in the bookshop. One of his classmates, Sayo refuses to give up on him and goes to the shop every day to try and persuade him to come to school.
Sayo is a complete contrast to the restrained Rintaro and I found their dynamic interesting – what they bought out in each other.
Tiger the Cat. I loved him. Well he’s a cat so there was never any question. He appears and asks Rintaro for help in freeing imprisoned and mistreated books and as a book lover, I found this premise incredibly appealing. It made me think of all the books lining my bookshelves and the ever growing TBR pile – all those stories just sitting there; ones I’ve read or books still waiting to be discovered. This novel also shines a light on how important books are.
I felt so heartbroken at many points in this novel, especially when the books were being thrown out of the window and getting damaged. However, there were some life affirming moments too. This book really did make me think. It’s about learning to care about people, life and finding the courage to do what is right for you.
If you’e looking for something different that makes you feel all of the emotions, then this book is perfect. I really enjoyed it.
The Cat Who Saved Books was published by Picador and translated by Louise Heal Kawai. Click to buy on Amazon UK.
(Thank you to Netgalley for the advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.)
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.