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The Cat and The City de Nick Bradley
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The Cat and The City (edició 2020)

de Nick Bradley (Autor)

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1023230,758 (3.5)2
A stray cat dances through Tokyo, connecting a group of apparent strangers, in this inventive literary debut.
Títol:The Cat and The City
Autors:Nick Bradley (Autor)
Informació:Atlantic Books (2020), Edition: Main, 304 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca, Llegint actualment

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The Cat and the City de Nick Bradley

  1. 00
    Not the End of the World de Kate Atkinson (isabelx)
    isabelx: Both collections have subtle links between the stories that become more obvious as you read further.
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Tokyo is preparing for hosting the 2020 Olympics. Author Nick Bradley has weaved a collection of short stories together, with numerous characters that connect in a variety of unexpected ways, but with too few appearances by the calico cat prominently featured on the book’s striking cover. The first story is a determined girl getting a large map of the city tattooed on her back in the traditional (tebori) style. She insists on no people appearing in the tattoo, but the renowned artist sneaks in a tattoo of a calico cat, which moves in between visits to the shop. Naomi and the cat share strange green eyes and re-appear occasionally in stories, but not enough. I really enjoyed the second story of a homeless man, down on his luck, but wanting to make a difference, and a loving caretaker for the calico cat. Sadly, I was less impressed by the rest of the stories. Bradley boldly used a variety of styles and motifs, but the unifying thread was just too weak for me to create a cohesive narrative in the metropolis. ( )
1 vota skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
This book provides the reader insight into contemporary Japan. It also features a cute recurring motif (the cat of the title) which serves to unify the different strands of the story. This old addled brain had a tough time keeping all the many characters straight in my head - perhaps a dramatis personae would have been in order. Especially given the plethora of Japanese names in the story. At some point, I may be motivated to read it again with some note taking... ( )
1 vota dbsovereign | Sep 12, 2020 |
I enjoyed this, and anyone interested in Japan or Japanese literature will find this an interesting read - from a Westernised view of the country and its capital city.

We open with a young girl getting a tattoo of the city on her back in a traditional (tebori) style. She specifically states that she doesn't want the tattoo with any people in it, but Kentaro sneaks in a small tattoo of a calico cat. The next time she visits to continue with the tattoo, Kentaro notices that the cat has moved.... And so we progress through a series of inter-linked narratives, where characters crop up and are the main focus, or re-appear in the background. Common to them all is the figure of the cat, now wandering the city and somehow encountering each of our characters. As a plot device, this is a clever way of linking the stories: the city's homeless being 'cleansed' from the streets in preparation for the 2020 Olympics; an American translator trying to fit into the city; a scientist trying to clone or create an AI cat for his daughter; a private investigator being threatened by the mob; a taxi driver who suffers a life-changing car crash... Nick Bradley gives us a sweeping look into moments of each of these lives, and we see that, even in a mega-city, we are all somehow connected. His choice of narrative styles changes, too, and we get a (fictional) short story, a short manga comic, a relationship seen in the form of footnotes, amongst others

Where the book doesn't quite work is its failure to escape from its Western perspective. It *feels* like it's written by a Westerner, and in so doing you can almost play 'Japan bingo' with the book: salarymen and karaoke; gaijin; women being hassled on the underground; the yakuza; the formal restrictions of family life; etc. Not that there is anything wrong with this, of course, but it does then also have the feel of a first novel where the author, who has clearly done his research, wants to include absolutely everything. Sometimes, less is more. It can't help but be compared with David Mitchell's debut, 'Ghostwritten', which has a similar plot device of a spirit passing between characters and linking their stories. For me, Mitchell had a much better narrative style and control of what to include and what to omit. Perhaps that's grossly unfair of me to compare the two, but hey, I just have.

On the whole, however, this is a diverting and rewarding read, not afraid to show the underbelly of a country that prides itself on its social cohesion. An interesting Western take on Tokyo and its problems. 3 stars. ( )
1 vota Alan.M | Apr 23, 2020 |
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A stray cat dances through Tokyo, connecting a group of apparent strangers, in this inventive literary debut.

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