A BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick
'Ingenious ... touching, surprising and sometimes heartbreaking.' Guardian
'If you're itching to read a new novel by David Mitchell ... try this.' The Times
In Tokyo - one of the world's largest megacities - a stray cat is wending her way through the back alleys. And, with each detour, she brushes up against the seemingly disparate lives of the city-dwellers, connecting them in unexpected ways.
But the city is changing. As it does, it pushes her to the margins where she chances upon a series of apparent strangers - from a homeless man squatting in an abandoned hotel, to a shut-in hermit afraid to leave his house, to a convenience store worker searching for love. The cat orbits Tokyo's denizens, drawing them ever closer.
'Masterfully weaves together seemingly disparate threads to conjure up a vivid tapestry of Tokyo; its glory, its shame, its characters, and a calico cat.' David Peace, author of THE TOKYO TRILOGY
One of the Independent's best debuts
British author Nick Bradley's marvelous debut novel in stories opens in Tokyo, as a young woman with glowing green eyes asks Kentaro, a Japanese tattoo master, to cover her body with a portrait of the city. Over months of painful, painstaking work, Kentaro is alarmed to see the tiny calico cat he inked moving around. A cat appears in each of the stories that follow, which are set in a variety of Tokyo locales and written in genres including manga, science fiction, and horror. Though the tales seem unconnected, they are subtly and intricately linked. The homeless former alcoholic in "Fallen Words" turns out to be the brother of the taxi driver in "Sakura" and the son of the late author Nishi Furuni, whose futurist short story "Copy Cat" appears as the book's centerpiece. Furuni's story is translated by Flo Dunthorpe, an American whose fellow staffers at a large PR firm also appear throughout. As shadowy authorities clean up the city for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics (still planned here for 2020), Bradley suggests the reappearing green-eyed woman might be a bakeneko, a cat-human shape-shifter from Japanese folklore. Bradley's juxtaposed narratives paint an unforgettable portrait of Tokyo and capture the mix of isolation and interconnection that shapes modern urban life. Fans of David Mitchell should enjoy this clever work, which charts its own territory through deep immersion in Japanese culture.