A Cat, A Man and Two Women Review

Genre = literary, Japanese fiction, contemporary

Author = Jun’ichirō Tanizaki and Paul McCarthy

Info  = https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37822483-a-cat-a-man-and-two-women

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This is the story of a husband and wife that are separated and now Shozo has a new wife. However, his previous wife, Shinako wants the cat back. There maybe many reasons revenge, loneliness or a ploy to get Shozo back. But which one is it and does she really know what she wants?

My Thoughts:

This plot is quite slow releasing in terms moving forward which I had expected due to the way the blurb described it. However, it did make me put it down multiple times as I just wasn’t fully engrossed in the story and I had this constant irritation with the way most of the characters were acting. The book felt like you were reading a social experiment in a journal about the way we hold onto memories of a marriage and people who shape our lives. This was an interesting way of writing it and made me more interested in which path the characters were taking. The plot is mainly character driven and centred around the musings of this cat which is funny but also you feel sorry for the cat, Lily, as it was slightly representing a child being pulled back and forth between parents. There were some great tense scenes especially when the cat left and Shozo was looking for him you could really feel that pain and loss. It was a predictable ending but in a nice way when you feel like something has concluded in the way you thought it would its like a reader satisfied ending.

Shozo I couldn’t stand his character he was selfish and sad which made you constantly frustrated having to read about him. Plus it felt like he was very uninterested in life and its opportunities it was all about the cat Lily which for me I can half understand but this character was moaning about the way life was and that just drove me to hate him. Shinako I liked her because she was trying to move forward and create a new life for herself. She was independent and funny but also has her own agenda that always changed and intrigued me. Fukuko was so typical in terms of a woman who wanted take something that wasn’t hers. That made me disappointed in her as she had drive at some points to do things and change her marriage but in the end it was not what she hoped. The mother what an awful human being who was just so cold and calculating that I just couldn’t even acknowledge her as a human. Lily what a typical grumpy old cat that reminded me of one I used to know.


This book is a nice read that makes you contemplate relationships and their meaning which I enjoyed. I have to say it is very much a mood read this book, you have to be in that dreamy existential space to really enjoy it which is why I put it down so much. I did feel that I didn’t connect with the characters as much I usually do but felt closer to the cat. I think that was the author’s intention though. The pacing was very slow which was irritating because I just wanted it a bit more drama as I am too much of a drama magnet. I would have liked more of a comparison between the two different lives with Lily. I think you will like this novel if you are in the mood for a dreamy pet novel that has some sad points.

3 stars


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