Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

I bought this book on impulse because:

1) Cats
2) Japanese author

That about sums up the book.

After reading a couple of books translated from Japanese, I have a new found appreciation for all things Japanese. I appreciate the simplicity they make of daily life and the connection to nature. Perhaps this is a stereotype and I've not read enough books, but that's the impression I get from Endo's Silence and Murakami's 1Q84.

Anyway, this book is about a man and his wife whose neighbour bought a cat. One day, it wandered into their home and made frequent visits thereafter. We learn about the playful yet untouchable cat and the relationship it develops with the couple.

When it dies in a car accident, both are devastated. The story doesn't end there though. We see how they cope with the death of the cat and as they subsequently move out and encounter other cats.

I liked the simplicity of the text and story and would recommend all, cat lovers or not, to pick up this slim volume for an hour of literary cat appreciation.

I picked up my copy from Northside Books while holidaying in Perth and you can also get your copy from Amazon or Book Depository.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Love, or something like love by O Thiam Chin

This is a BRILLIANT book, the fifth collection by Singaporean author O Thiam Chin. I picked up this book on a whim while shopping at Books Actually and I am blown away at how awesome this book of 10 short stories is.

Inspired by various events in Singapore - the tragedy of a boy drowning in a storm canal and the court case involving several men engaging the sexual services of an underaged girl, the stories are an interesting take on the aforementioned events.

Apart from that, I really liked the story of Zheng He, the admiral sent from China to trade with Singapore who found love, or something like it.

The supernatural story of a boy who can see his dead mother was also deftly and adroitly handled. I was impressed.

Spoiler alert, this book has several sex scenes in it, none frivolous, all contributing to the stories, but I'm putting it here just in case it's an issue with some of my readers.

Anyway, if you're interested in short stories with a Singaporean flavour, get this book from Books Actually and get your hands on this book today!