November 17, 2019

If Cats Disappeared from the World by Genki Kawamura

Every so often a novel is a success in its author’s home country and then spreads throughout the world as it’s translated into other languages. Such is the case with If Cats Disappeared from the World by Japanese author Genki Kawamura.

This gracefully written little fable about life and death has sold 2 million copies internationally. A young Japanese postman is visited by the Devil and finds out his death is imminent. He can, however, earn extra days of living by banishing certain things one by one from everyone’s lives. First to go are all cell phones. And then movies. The game continues as the postman assesses his life, past and present.

If I had to compare this short novel to anything, it would be Tuesdays With Morrie, the 1997 memoir by Mitch Albom about his discussions with one of his previous professors. While that bestseller was non-fiction, If Cats Disappeared from the World is decidedly fiction with a fairy tale quality that you just might love.

My husband passed on reading Kawamura’s little novel, however. Let’s just say that this book would be a break from your political thrillers and murder mysteries. Different strokes for people and cats alike.

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