Reviews for I am a cat [electronic resource]

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The fly-on-the-wall convention is as good as any other when tackling social comedy; in this Japanese novel, Soseki (1867-1916) uses a housecat-on-the-floor who sees, half understands, and is astonished by everything that goes on in the household of a poor yet pretentious schoolteacher named Kushami. In terms of incident, there isn't much here: a thief enters the Kushami house at night and steals a lacquered box from beside the wife's bed, assuming that there are jewels inside (in fact, there are only preserved yams meant for a midnight snack); the schoolteacher is tormented by the boy students of a neighboring junior high school. But there are also voluminous digressions in which the teacher and his eccentric friends give voice to idle and drawn-out speculations--with an interesting, especially Japanese tint to the bodily frankness of the noodling conversations: hangings, noses, female baldness, white nostril hairs, public baths, pockmarks. So, though much of this rediscovered book will seem arch and belabored to contemporary American readers, there's occasional fun in the vagariousness of period-Japanese culture--as magnified by the cat's-eye view. Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The fly-on-the-wall convention is as good as any other when tackling social comedy; in this Japanese novel, Soseki (1867-1916) uses a housecat-on-the-floor who sees, half understands, and is astonished by everything that goes on in the household of a poor yet pretentious schoolteacher named Kushami. In terms of incident, there isn't much here: a thief enters the Kushami house at night and steals a lacquered box from beside the wife's bed, assuming that there are jewels inside (in fact, there are only preserved yams meant for a midnight snack); the schoolteacher is tormented by the boy students of a neighboring junior high school. But there are also voluminous digressions in which the teacher and his eccentric friends give voice to idle and drawn-out speculations--with an interesting, especially Japanese tint to the bodily frankness of the noodling conversations: hangings, noses, female baldness, white nostril hairs, public baths, pockmarks. So, though much of this rediscovered book will seem arch and belabored to contemporary American readers, there's occasional fun in the vagariousness of period-Japanese culture--as magnified by the cat's-eye view. Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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