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Publisher's Summary

Written over the course of 1904-1906, Soseki Natsume's comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat, satirizes the foolishness of upper-middle class Japanese society during the Meiji era. With acerbic wit and sardonic perspective, it follows the whimsical adventures of a world-weary stray kitten who comments on the follies and foibles of the people around him.

A classic of Japanese literature, I Am a Cat is one of Soseki's best-known novels. Considered by many as the greatest writer in modern Japanese history, Soseki's I Am a Cat is a classic novel sure to be enjoyed for years to come.

©1972 Aiko Ito and Graeme Wilson (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about I Am a Cat

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  • mz
  • 04-03-20

Great performance!

Narrator's performance is great. Many different voices for the characters, such that upon hearing a particular voice, you know which character it is, before the text says who is talking. This adds a lot of interest to the book. His pronunciation of Japanese and Chinese words is also better than many narrators.

The book isn't merely random observations of humans in the Meiji era by a cat, but has a story line throughout. Interesting traditional Japan and its customs, with some outdated views, interesting side stories about various happenings, sometimes even funny. The third part gets very philosophical at times but eventually does returns to the main story, which I think is more interesting.

The cat does have a superhuman knowledge of both the East and West, which had been clarified in the foreword, so that wasn't a problem. The foreword introduces the story well and clears away criticisms and questions a reader might have later.

22 people found this helpful

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Loving the American-Japanese reader

The book was very well read. And it was nice to have a reader not butchering all of the Japanese words. The cat is hilarious, but you need to be into geeky academics jokes and passions.

9 people found this helpful

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Mostly 5 stars, spoiler in foreward very annoying

Why would a book include a spoiler in the forward/introduction without a warning? I had never heard of this book until recently and was so excited to listen to it, but knowing a big part of the ending took a little of the enjoyment out of it. So read it after, not before, if you don't know the outcome of the book.

I very much enjoyed this otherwise. Because of the way it was originally published it does seem like it's supposed to end fairly early, but then goes on.

This book has some cat characters, but it is more of a cat's observation of humans. It is often humorous. It is a slice of Japanese life mixed in with the influences of the Western world. Some of the people are so annoying and the cat tells it like it is. The narrator does this all almost perfectly.

I listened to this after several other Japanese books. I'm moving on now, but I'll be back to more Japanese books before too long.

5 people found this helpful

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Interesting take on life from a cats point of view

This was a good book I could of been shorter there were parts that I feel it didn't make sence to put in but overall if you want a perspective of early 1900's life in Japan from an outsiders view its a good book I'd recommend it

2 people found this helpful

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Great story and very good narration

I am not done yet, but more than halfway past. I believe I began this book in hard copy many years ago. I love it. It is satire in its purest form with all the humor and perspicacity and insight expected in satire. Using a cat as the observer of human behavior is brilliant.

1 person found this helpful

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The foreword spoils the ending

I really did enjoy this book and the narrator did an excellent job, but as the header says the foreword of the translator tells you exactly how the story ends and that made it quite hard to enjoy. I'm very firmly in the camp of its not the journey it's the ending so having the whole point of reading a book ruined before it begins put a damper on it. It's a good book, just skip the foreword if you get this.

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Chapter one !!! then boring

Starts interesting and funny but after chapter one it’s pretty mundane I would not recommend

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  • htspider
  • 08-29-20

The forward is a spoiler!

Listen to the forward last, because it dwells at length on the ending and is a real spoiler. Some useful information in there, but definitely listen to the story first.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-21-20

Utterly delightful, magnificently narrated

While true that, at times, the narrative amongst the humans upon which the cat comments can drag somewhat, this remains a marvelous and rather unique novel. David Shih narrates this book beautifully, his performance including apt and distinguishable voices for the whole cast of characters. Like Natsume's readers in early 20th century Japan who first encountered this work in serialised form, I too only wish there were more to come! Cat lovers in particular will enjoy this humorous, biting commentary on humanity itself from a feline observer!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-23-21

Still as amazing as I first read it

I picked up the novel I Am A Cat seven years ago. I looked at the title and the blurb and thought it was very interesting, so I bought it. It has now become my all time favourite story. I've reread this numerous times over the years - it's comforting.

The audiobook here perfectly captures what made I Am A Cat such a special story to me. David Shih's performance was perfect, capturing the tender yet sarcastic tones of the stories.

It's as good as it gets.

I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sylvester Jønsson
  • 07-30-21

One of the big literary works in Japanese history

one of the classic in Japanese literature. Personally I was finding it difficult to follow the story and I didn’t find any of the characters likeable. But I think that fine I am not Japanese so I’m sure I didn’t pick up the cultural nuances and the stories just is what I am are used to as a European and that is okay. I still very much enjoying having read this masterpiece.

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  • Dan
  • 04-13-20

Awesome read, very funny :)

Awesome read, very funny :)

This is a great book, both funny and insightful take on culture.

1 person found this helpful

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  • DDD
  • 05-26-22

Terrible translation blunts already dull story

The Anglicization of this novels characters, food and animals attempts to add context to this story for a reader who knows nothing about Japan. The problem is that the draw of the original novel is the not the story, it is the Japanese play on words, flipping of social roles and jokes. None of these are conveyed by this translation. The only thing you get from this is the bare bones of the plotline which was never the draw of this book to begin with. If you are a Japanese fiction fan, a physical copy of this book with footnotes will do you so much better.