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I Am a Cat: Three Volumes in One by Soseki…

I Am a Cat: Three Volumes in One (edition 2001)

by Soseki Natsume, Aiko Ito (Translator), Graeme Wilson (Translator)

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1,135247,212 (3.62)123
Title:I Am a Cat: Three Volumes in One
Authors:Soseki Natsume
Other authors:Aiko Ito (Translator), Graeme Wilson (Translator)
Info:Tuttle Publishing (2001), Paperback, 656 pages
Collections:Your library

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I Am a Cat by Sōseki Natsume

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English (17)  Spanish (6)  Catalan (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I am a Cat is a beautifully crafted work of social commentary and a wonderful example of Japanese literature. The story is told through the inner monologues of a nameless housecat, but it is not so much about the cat as it is about the people it comes into contact with. The first part is largely comprised of the cat and its interactions with other cats, interspersed with witty monologues regarding the cat's master and his scholarly friends. As the story progresses to volume two however, the cat becomes far more interested in the affairs of men, and its monologues take on a more critical and thought provoking tune as the cat gains more human characteristics. As it is then during the latter parts of the book are often taken up by the cat overhearing interesting conversations amongst the master and his friends, interspersed with the occasional interjection by the cat every few pages. Consequently one may forget that the cat is even there at some points; but the interactions between the book's colourful characters are so interesting that you probably won't care all that much.

I will make one final note on the English translation. The translation by Tuttle flows beautifully and seems very well written (you won't realise it is a translation work) but I do believe it may have taken a few liberties with the original text in order to be more accessible to a wider audience. This does however make it flow very well and means anyone can pick it up without any knowledge of Japan during the Meiji era without losing out too much, so I would say it is a very good trade off.

All in all, a wonderful novel that I would highly recommend to anybody. I am now inclined to check Soseki's other work to see if this high level of quality is present throughout his bibliography.

( )
  hickey92 | Jan 24, 2016 |
Reviewing this book is complicated for me because I had a fairly wide variety of reactions to it. First of all, I can best describe it as a Japanese version of "Waiting For Godot" although the play is fairly brief and this is a 470 page novel. It also is reminiscent of "La Nausee" by Albert Camus. It is a narration of the absolute absurdity of human beings, as perceived by the narrator, who is a cat without a name. It is filled with Dickensian characters such as Beauchamp Blowlamp, the Goldfields (wealthy snobs), and Mr. Sneaze (a self-absorbed hypochondriac and owner of the unnamed cat), just to name a few. I laughed out loud more times than I can count and sent a list of favorite quotes about cats to my feline loving brother. Witty, existential, uncomfortable, confusing, and profound. Originally published in installments, I can see how the length was irrelevant at the time of the original publication. And frankly, I cannot say what I would cut!! I thought about giving it four stars because it dragged at times, but I ended up giving it five stars because it is unique, because it is thought-provoking around the meaning of existence, because of the marvelous characters and lastly, because I do not often laugh out loud when reading, but the humor in this novel is marvelous and drew me through the slower parts quickly in anticipation of whatever would come next. Tough ending, but it worked. ( )
  hemlokgang | Sep 9, 2014 |
What a meandering read. And what an ending. I enjoyed parts of this book, but never fully cared about any of the characters. This made it harder to get through. I also didn't like the way it changed from being the catlike viewpoint of the cat, to being the anthropomorphised viewpoint of the cat, to finally being a series of observations that happened to be presented as being the viewpoint of the cat. I'm glad I read other works by Sōseki first, because if this had been my first encounter with him, I might have wondered what the fuss was about. ( )
  missizicks | Apr 9, 2014 |
Filosofía oriental felina. Extraordinario. ( )
  darioha | Feb 10, 2014 |
Sōseki si cela dietro la pelliccia e le vibrisse di un gatto, intento a osservare con con ironia e superiorità il Giappone dell'Epoca Meiji, che si apre con estremi un po' modaioli all'occidentalizzazione voluta dalla corte imperiale.
Il gatto, a cui nessuno ha dato un nome, segue le vicende del suo padrone, un professore di inglese, misantropo e sofferente di stomaco, che improvvisa haiku e dipinge acquerelli con scarsi risultati, compra libri che non legge e, se li legge, presto si appisola al tavolo di lavoro. Attorno al professore orbitano altri personaggi, caricature dei tipi intellettuali del tempo, che diventano vittime degli strali dell'io narrante dalle sembianze feline: l’esteta dagli occhiali cerchiati d’oro, che racconta falsità a non finire per darsi un tono; il buddhista zen fanatico e incoerente; il poeta che, su ordinazione, compone poesie d’occasione."Le zampe dei gatti, ovunque si posino, sono così silenziose che non tradiscono mai la loro presenza, quasi calpestassero il cielo o le nuvole. Sono come un gong suonato sott'acqua o un koto pizzicato in una grotta, sono l'intuizione muta e immediata delle delizie della vita. [...] Vado dove voglio, ascolto quel che mi garba, dopodiché tiro fuori la lingua, agito la coda, drizzo i baffi e me ne torno indisturbato a casa." ( )
  Kazegafukuhi | Aug 10, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sōseki Natsumeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ito, AikoTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, GraemeTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I am a cat.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080483265X, Paperback)

Written over the course of 1904-6, Soseki's comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat, satirizes the follies of upper-middle-class Japanese society during the Meiji era. With acerbic wit and sardonic perspective, it follows the whimsical adventures of a world-weary stray kitten who comments on the follies and foibles of the people around him.

The New Yorker called it "a nonchalant string of anecdotes and wisecracks, told by a fellow who doesn't have a name, and has never caught a mouse, and isn't much good for anything except watching human beings in action..."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:49 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

I Am a Cat, satirizes the follies of upper-middle-class Japanese society during the Meiji era.

(summary from another edition)

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