If Cats Disappeared From the World

If Cats Disappeared From the World


Translated from the original Japanese version this is a a moving tale of loss and reaching out to the ones we love, of one man’s journey to discover what really matters in life. Our narrator’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat Cabbage for company, he is unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. Then one day, the Devil appears with a special offer: in exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, he can have one extra day of life.

Our Review

If Cats Disappeared from The World was a beautiful little book. Some books translated from another language lose something in translation, but Eric Selland did a wonderful job of making sure this one didn’t.

If Cats Disappeared from The World deals with love, life and loss in a wonderfully unique way.

The book begins with the narrator writing a letter to someone, a letter which opens with an unusual question:

“If cats disappeared from the world, how would the world change? And how would my life change?

And if I disappeared from the world? Well, I suppose nothing would change at all. Things would probably just go on, day after day…same as usual.”

He tells the unknown recipient that the letter will explain everything in the end and that is also his will and testament.

The narrator is 30 years old and was told by the doctor that he has a brain tumour and has only six months left to live.

When he found out he felt like he had so much left unaccomplished things that only he could do some when The Devil appeared to him out of the blue with a deal he couldn’t help but consider. For every thing he got rid of from the world he would get another day at life.

I have seen some people complain in reviews about the things that were chosen to disappear from the world, but those people are missing the point because it was never the narrator’s choice it was the devil who chose.

One thing that amused me was that the devil was contemplating getting rid of chocolate but after trying it for himself he decided to keep it.

On diagnoses the narrator contemplates his friendships and mostly finds them lacking, he is single so has no significant other to tell. His mother is dead and he is estranged from his father, in fact he feels like the only one who might miss him is his cat Cabbage.

As the book progresses the narrator examines his relationships with those who have been important in his life and the results are interesting. His mother, his father, an ex-girlfriend and a friend are all put under the spotlight.

As things disappear from the world the narrator examines what is important in life and what we and he can do without. This had the result of making me question what I would be happy to do without. For example, I don’t think I would be overly bothered if phones were no longer in the world or movies but if books disappeared I think that would be a the thing that made me decide it probably wasn’t worth it.

If Cats Disappeared from The World is one of my top books of the year.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 5/5

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