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Hiro Arikawa Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Travelling Cat Chronicles (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Goodbye Cat (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Hiro Arikawa is a Japanese light novelist author best known for her Travelling Cat Chronicles book. A light novel is a type of young adult novel that primarily targets middle and high school students, with an average length of approximately 50,000 words. This writing style is often illustrated in manga style and commonly adapted into anime and manga. While most light novels are published as full-size books, some have chapters featured in monthly magazines and later compiled as books.

Hiro Arikawa won the Dengeki Novel Prize for her book Shio no Machi in 2003, published a year later. The book was highly praised for its love story between the hero and heroine divided by social status and age and for showcasing military structures. Even though Arikawa is a light novelist, her books have been published as hardcovers. Her 2006 novel, The Library War, was Hon no Zasshi’s number one for the first half of 2006 and was 5th in the Honya Taisho for the same year. Arikawa commonly writes about the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, and her first three books detailed about it and are titled The SDF Trilogy (Jieitai Sanbusaku)

Hiro Arikawa’s book, The Travelling Cat Chronicles, is a quirky, touching, and heartbreaking novel originally written in Japanese and translated into English by Phillip Gabriel. There are some chances that at the beginning of this book, you may think it’s a trifle simplistic, but that’s not the case, as it will draw you to the last page. The book is narrated from the perspective of Satoru Miyawaki and his stray cat named Nana, so named because its tail resembles the Japanese character for the number seven. As a stray cat, Nana loved living in Satoru’s van and, with time, found himself fed by Satoru. He resembles a cat from Satoru’s childhood.

Nana gets into a serious road accident and drags himself to Satoru, who immediately rushes him to the vet. After the vet’s visit, Satoru continues caring for Nana for several months until he fully recovers. Realizing that Satoru truly loves him, Nana decides to stay rather than live in the streets. The two become close friends until the day when Satoru embarks on a road trip, and he decides to leave the cat with one of his friends to look after him while he’s away.

Nana is surprised by the fact that Satoru is giving him away, and so are Satoru’s friends, but there are some speculations that he lost his job, but they do not question him further. Their first stop is where Satoru spent his childhood with his best friend Kosuke, a cat lover with a difficult-to-handle father currently experiencing a marriage crisis. The stories from Satoru and his friend’s childhood included an adventurous running away from parents incident organized by Satoru to manipulate Kosuke’s dad to accept a cat (Satoru’s childhood cat) which failed terribly. Satoru would later take in the cat, and the two became inseparable friends until unavoidable circumstances forced him to move in with his aunt Noriko and Hachi was given to his distant relatives. This visit ends with Satoru prompting Kosuke to find a cat that would allow him to lure his wife back.

Satoru’s aunt’s job as a judge forces them into multiple relocations, and this forces him to attend different high schools where he meets Yoshimine, who is now a farmer, and his next friend stops on the list. Yoshimine two parents never wanted him, so he ended up living with his grandmother. The two boys were like brothers at school, but thanks to manipulation, Yoshimine’s home won’t be Nana’s, New Haven. Satoru’s next stop is a village near Mount Fuji at Suki’s place. But the elements of their visit are complicated as Suki compares himself with Satoru. And this feeds him with more insecurities as he states that his wife, Chikako, would have chosen Satoru instead of him. Once more, circumstances ensure that Nana doesn’t find a home in Suki’s home.

Satoru and Nana go on to see the vibrancy and glory of nature, explore the sea and visit Satoru parent’s graves. The Travelling Cat Chronicles is a tale of a man and his cat and what they are willing to do to stay together. It tells of Satoru’s life, his friends, and his unbreakable bond with his cat, Nana. It is a gentle and compelling read, a book that has been a bestseller in Japan. Satoru is one of the best characters you will ever meet. He is fiercely strong for who he is, a pet lover, and a man who most looks up to. He is loveable, respectful, and loyal to all his friends.

On the other hand, Nana is a sassy cat and truly loyal to Satoru. The story is narrated from Nana’s point of view and helps give the readers a unique perspective of Satoru’s journey. All the supporting characters, from Suki, Yoshimine, and Kosuke to Chikako, contribute value to the story. Their relationship with Satoru is vital. It is not the journey that counts, but what counts is the person by your side.

The Goodbye Cat is a compilation of seven wry and heartwarming stories of cats and their human owners. The book also includes an episode where we meet Nana from previous book, The Travelling Cat Chronicles, who once again doesn’t want to be rehomed by his owner.
A father and son travel to the Island of Cat, a place given this name because of all the stray cats it hosts, as the boy learns to accept about his father’s new wife. “Tom Damn Tom,” tells the story of a woman who comes to understand that her cat will never give up its morning wakeup routine. The ‘Schrodinger’s Cat’ story tells the story of a father who learns from his father how to be a better husband and father to his family, while in the ‘Goodbye Cat,’ we meet a cat that longs to outlive its owner. If you are a pet parent, then you will find Hiro Arikawa’s books quite satisfying and comforting.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Hiro Arikawa

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