...The structure of The Travelling Cat Chronicles is deceptively simple. With alternating sections of third-person and Nana-the-cat narration, it consists of three journeys to friends, followed by a pilgrimage across a beautifully evoked landscape ... anyone who has ever unashamedly loved an animal will read this book with gratitude, for its understanding of an emotion that ennobles us as human beings, whether we value it or not.
...Satoru adopts a cat and names him Nana, and the two live happily together for many years. This novel is often told from the perspective of Nana, whose sassy commentary about the world he lives in is incredibly charming and smart. Reality hits hard, however, when, for reasons unclear to Nana, Satoru must find the cat a new home. Satoru will not entrust Nana’s care to just anyone, and so begins a journey across Japan in a silver van as the two visit Satoru’s old friends ...Arikawa’s novel...boasts vivid and well-rendered characters in the midst of trying to do what’s best for those they love the most.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles is no less valuable for facing issues of friendship, family, loss, and grief with an optimistic and loving outlook. In fact, the book's greatest strength is that it allows its readers to experience vicarious happiness even as a sense of impending loss begins to creep through the pages ... I found myself sobbing through the last 40 pages or so, unable, unwilling, to let this joyful little book go. I doubt many readers — as cynical and hardened as they may be — will get through it dry-eyed themselves. And you know what? Sometimes a good happy-sad cry is just what the doctor ordered.