Two Books

Early this year I read two books which reflect on living and dying. They were quite different but both touched upon friendships, regrets, loves and living life. So yes, have some tissues ready for these.

“Long time no see. So began the e-mail. It was from Satoru Miyazaki, a childhood friend of Kosuke’s who had moved away when he was in elementary school. He had moved around quite a bit after that, but they never completely lost touch, and even now, when they were both past thirty, they were still friends. Sorry this is out of the blue, but would you be able to take my cat for me?” 

The Traveling Cat Chronicles
By Hiro Arikawa, translated by Philip Gabriel
Source: Advance review copy
Rating: ★★★★

Satoru visits his childhood friend Kosuke to see if he can take his cat, Nana. During the visit the story is narrated in parts by Nana, yes, the cat. We see how the two friends bonded over their love of a cat and how their lives unfolded through years.

While Satoru decides he can’t leave Nana with his friend, he also knows he has to find another place for Nana. The two take to the road to visit a couple of other people who may be options and slowly it becomes clear why Satoru is finding a place for Nana.

This could very easily be a story that could become overly sentimental, but Nana saves it from that. He’s a bit cranky and temperamental but you can’t help but love him. And, I couldn’t help but love this story too which was a surprise and delight to me.

“Lenni – When people say ‘terminal,’ I think of the airport. I picture a wide check-in area with a high chewing and glass walls, the staff in matching uniforms waiting to take my name and flight information, waiting to ask me if I packed my bags myself, and if I’m traveling alone…. I have spent many days at the airport. Years. And, still have not flown away.” 

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot
By Marianne Cronin
Source: Audiobook
Rating: ★★★

Lenni is seventeen-years-old and on the terminal ward when she meets Margo, who is 83-years-old. The two quickly form a bond that will help Lenni continue to live because she wants to experience as much as life as she can.

They initially meet during an arts and crafts class and soon decide that a wonderful way to leave their mark on this life is by painting a mural with their stories. Margot’s life makes up the most of the story as we find out about her heartbreaks and loves and there are certainly some humorous events.

I really appreciated the friendship between two women of different generations and I loved the voice of both characters but my biggest issue with this story was that Lenni is a seventeen-year-old alone navigating a terminal illness. I had a hard time believing that Lenni had no one from her family to help her.

I hope you enjoyed reading about these and let me know if you plan to read them or if you have already read them what did you think?

  1. April 11, 2023
  2. April 12, 2023
  3. April 12, 2023
  4. April 12, 2023
  5. April 13, 2023