Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme that was started by @Lauren’s Page Turners. This meme is quite easy to follow – just randomly pick a book from your to-be-read list and give the reasons why you want to read it. It is that simple.
This week’s book:
I Am A Cat by Natsume Sōseki
Blurb from Goodreads
So begins one of the most original and unforgettable works in Japanese literature.
Richly allegorical and delightfully readable, I Am a Cat is the chronicle of an unloved, unwanted, wandering kitten who spends all his time observing human nature – from the dramas of businessmen and schoolteachers to the foibles of priests and potentates. From this unique perspective, author Sōseki Natsume offers a biting commentary – shaped by his training in Chinese philosophy – on the social upheaval of the Meiji era.
I Am a Cat first appeared in ten installments in the literary magazine Hotoguisu (Cuckoo), between 1905 and 1906. Sōseki had not intended to write more than the short story that makes up the first chapter of this book. After its great critical and popular success, he expanded it into this epic novel, which is universally recognised as a classic of world literature.
Why I Want To Read It
Ah Japanese Literature and Cats! If someone mentions cat, I would automatically link it to ancient Egypt (hey Cleopatra) but not once will I make any connection between the feline family and Japan. However, as I got more immersed into the world of Japanese literature, I have slowly uncovered how prevalent cats are in Japanese works.
It seems like that Japanese writers and authors have a fascination for cats, or at least cats have a special place in their ensembles. Take Haruki Murakami for instance, his works almost always involves a mention of a cat, or a group of cats. A fine example is Kafka on the Shore. There are also numerous books built around the feline cat, such as Hiro Arikawa’s The Travelling Cat Chronicles, one of my favorite reads in 2019.
As such, my fascination for the connection between Japanese Literature and cats grew ever more bigger. One of the titles that has piqued my curiosity is Natsume Sōseki’s I Am A Cat. It is a book that I came across several times in the local bookstore but never bought a copy because I was waiting for a hardbound copy (hopefully). Apart from this, Sōseki belongs to an elite group of renowned Japanese writers and I Am A Cat is a classic, not just of Japanese literature but of the entire world of literature.