Reality and Fiction intertwined in If Cats Disappeared from the World

The debut novel of Genki Kawamura is a heartwarming reflection of life and exploring your limits.

Being a stream-of-consciousness novel, the author carefully crafted the main character and his way of narrating the story. The book might look easy to read, but the author’s straightforward writing style adds complexity to the book’s central theme.

Once you get this book in your hands, you can’t resist but try and read it in one sitting. Even readers who haven’t had the chance to read something from Japanese literature will be in awe.


What To Expect From This Book?

You should prepare for an extraordinary plot; at the end of the book, you will have a different point of view regarding life. If you like Haruki Murakami writing, then you will find this book quite interesting too. It is quite short, just 200 pages, and its chapters are divided according to the days of the week.

While the protagonist struggles with his life, he has to remove one thing from his life so he can extend it for a day. Every day he chooses to lose something that might be quite important for everyone, but is that essential not to be able to live without it?

Through the first pages, it will look like the book is all about death but in reality, it is all about life and its meaning. The protagonist deals with the idea of death reflecting on what life would mean if we would appreciate even the smallest things. The only aim of the scriptwriter and author Kawamura is to inspire people to live their life step by step.


Reality Combined with Fiction

Unlike in other books of Japanese literature, Kawamura intertwines beautifully fantasy with reality. He has used surrealism in everyday life activities. While reading the novel, you come to the point that you are just used to this type of writing, and doesn’t seem like you are reading fiction anymore.

The author always thought about what it would be like to be dead and never wanted other people to gather around and talk about him. He wanted to use fantasy but at the same time keep it real. He achieved it by combining meaningful things in life with fictional characters; such as using the funny black cat to represent death with the protagonist’s will to live longer.

Crucial Points of the Novel Intertwined with Quirky Humor
Throughout the book, the narrator goes through some crucial events in his life and reflects on each of them.

He reflects on the time he spent with the love of his life, the death of his mother, and his complicated relationship with his father. Since every situation is quite tough to deal with, it might look like we are dealing with heavy reading. On the contrary, the author uses a quirky, gentle, and funny tone to break the tension.

Speaking of the other main characters such as Devil, he is a funny, loud, and silly character. Even though he conveys to the protagonist terrible news about life and death, he still manages to deliver it funnily. Many critics compared the characteristics of the Devil with the character of Garfield. They are both straightforward, and funny, and connect the main character with crucial points of life.


Critics and Audience’s Review

Critics have defined this novel as the most innovative artistic literary work. Good Readers has rated the book 3.6 out of 5.0.

Since the audience liked the book so much, they also were enthusiastic about the idea of turning it into a movie. The author released the movie back in 2016. Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB rated the film 6.9 out of 10.

In general, the audience liked this psychological novel because it had the power to make them have mixed feelings while reading it. One moment you are experiencing something relatively unknown and mysterious such as discussing death. Hence, the other moment you are laughing it off as you are adjusting slowly to it.

That’s the power of Kawamura’s writing, he lets your imagination wander but at the same time, he pulls you back to reality!


Photo: Mubi


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