Wednesday, 16 December 2009

I Am a Cat Vol. II

I have enjoyed Volume II of I Am a Cat as much as I have Volume I, probably more so as I have become immersed in the novel and attuned to its narrator and satirical humour. I Am a Cat is highly amusing with wry perceptions through the eyes of a cat. Volume II has been more episodic -with the setting and premise established in Volume I- with the cat (or Neko, as I refer to him when posting) venturing out to a Japanese bathhouse, spying on neighbours and being the only witness to a burglary in his master's home (of course burglars are also known as cat burglars). The scene were Neko attempts to prove his worth by catching rats -before a visitor to the Sneazes' home takes him to eat- is a moment of high comedy. Neko's commentary is insightful as well as scathing at times but it is always witty; when he is not participating in his own escapades then he is observing the domestic dramas of his owners, their friends and acquaintances. I also enjoyed a cheeky reference to Sōseki and his poetry by Sneaze and his friends, Coldmoon and Waverhouse.

I am finding I Am a Cat immensely readable and enjoyable and have definitely found my stride with Volume II; the characters are more fully-fledged and less annoying than in Volume I (not that they irritated me that much but Mr Sneaze is rather pompous) and the cat, himself, is more humanised, which is a development interesting to follow. The cat is by far one of the most intriguing and compelling narrators I have ever had the joy of reading. The concept of an omniscient narrator that is a character and a cat is awe-worthy and it still impresses me two volumes on; I am very excited -but also disappointed- to read the third and final volume for January 15th.

How are you finding I Am a Cat? I know that some of you have borrowed it from the library on my recommendation and I hope that you are enjoying it as much as I am.

Some quotes from Volume II:

So who the hell is this that has so blithely appropriated the cushion which was destined, sooner or later, to have eased Suzuki buttocks? Had the interloper been a human being, he might well have given way. But to be pre-empted by a mere cat, that is intolerable. It is also a little unpleasant.

But cats, I can assure you, just like anyone else, feel the heat and feel the cold. There are times when I consider that I really wouldn't mind, just that once, soaking myself in a bath, but if I got hot water all over my fur, it would take ages to get dry again and that is why I grin and bear the stink of my own sweat and have never in all my life yet passed through the entrance of a public bathhouse. Every now and again I think about using a fan but, since I cannot hold one in my paws, the thought's not worth pursuing.


Anonymous said...

I'm so disappointed at missing the start of the read-along - the book truly sounds wonderful and your bookmark could not be a better fit for the pair (:

Steph said...

I really love quirky narrators, and I recently read a book narrated by a dog, so maybe I need to give cats a shot too! This one sounds like it's a lot of fun, and I'm glad to hear you've been enjoying it so much!

Paperback Reader said...

Hi Lena, I'd suggest catching up if it wasn't over Christmas! It is a great book though and one you should read at another time. Ana made me the bookmark!

Steph, I really am enjoying it and is it possible to fall completely in love with a cat narrator? because I did!

mel u said...

I am sorry I missed out on this read along-I was unable to locate a copy of the book in any of the stores here (no libraries)-I loved a shorter novel of his I read, Kusamakura and will get to I am a Cat when I can-I enjoyed your post

Paperback Reader said...

Thanks, Mel; I hope you find a copy soon. I would definitely read more of his work as I am thoroughly enjoying this one.

mee said...

I'm glad to hear that the second part might be even better. I just finished the first volume and quite liked it! (I'm late, yes :)

Paperback Reader said...

mee, better late than never! I hope you enjoy the second volume as much as I did and catch up with us for Vol. III.

Anonymous said...

My post is up as well! I decided not to cram everything I jotted down about the book into one review because it is lengthy as it is right now. Hopefully I'll get to that some other time ;)

Like you I'm more enthusiastic about part 2. Your quotes are two of my favs too! But what I found a bit weak was that some of the narratives weren't referred back to later on (like the kitchen scene). Maybe that's what you called 'episodic'?

Paperback Reader said...

gnoegnoe, you can always add it to your post on the third volume or perhaps an overall one?

Yes, that's what I mean by "episodic": there are several individual episodes in the book almost as if each instance was a separate installment in a literary magazine and then published as a whole. It worked for me and I'm curious to see how Volume III follows on from it.