If Cats Disappeared from the World

A Novel
Narrated by: Brian Nishii
Length: 4 hrs and 49 mins
4 out of 5 stars (56 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Brian Nishii narrates this imaginative tale set in Japan about the complexities of death, life, and cats...A brief, charming parable." —AudioFile Magazine

The international phenomenon that has sold more than a million copies in Japan, If Cats Disappeared from the World is a funny, heartwarming, and profound meditation on the meaning of life.  

The postman’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat, Cabbage, to keep him company, he was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. But before he can tackle his bucket list, the Devil appears to make him an offer: In exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, our narrator will get one extra day of life. And so begins a very bizarre week....

With each object that disappears, the postman reflects on the life he’s lived, his joys and regrets, and the people he’s loved and lost.   

Genki Kawamura’s timeless tale is a moving story of loss and reconciliation, of one man’s journey to discover what really matters most in life.

©2012; 2019 Text copyright Genki Kawamura; Translation copyright Eric Selland (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"At first, If Cats Disappeared from the World feels as light and puzzling as a fairy tale, but then, steadily, chapter by chapter - using nothing more than conversation, memory, and a winning narrator's searching, sensitive thought experiments - it raises its cosmic stakes higher than any thriller. Like a padding cat or the shadow of death, Genki Kawamura's book snuck up on me; the next thing I knew, I was crying." (Robin Sloan, New York Times best-selling author of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and Sourdough)

What listeners say about If Cats Disappeared from the World

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Kind of a Fabulous Fable!

I adore this book. Needed something to get back in the swing with audio books. Found this and am so glad. So much to think about in this read. The connection between gain and loss is intriguing. It might not be 100% real that all gain comes with loss, but with emotion, we seem to go up and down in mood in equal increments. Everything physical comes from somewhere. Environmental loss seems a huge part of acquiring things.

Then just the idea of losing all the phones in the world. Not to give more away than that, but also, the devil playing with a cat in the floor and eating chocolates. Very funny!!!

Great read.

Well narrated too.

3 people found this helpful

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pleasant surprise

what a wonderful book. was expecting a good story with a laugh, but got that and so much more... warning, may have to fight back tears at some point!

2 people found this helpful

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A wonderful book

Everyone should read this book. The message of how to live your life and end your life is timeless and important.

2 people found this helpful

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  • mz
  • 04-04-20

Thought provoking

I am reading this book after having seen the movie derived from it three years ago. In the movie, there were memorable fantastical effects that are not in the book. I would say both are equally touching, though the book explained some things that weren't apparent to me in the movie, like why was he on a bike in the beginning. The book recalls scenes of the movie and makes me want to watch it again.

The book is really about, walking down a person's memory lane, you realize what is really important, and what is not so important; what you should really savor in life, and what you could do without. It is thought provoking and touching at several points.

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this book was amazing.

I've been putting my phone down more and appreciating everyday as if it were my last.

1 person found this helpful

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Couldn't get through it

I could only get thirty minutes into this. it is so badly written and the moral lesson along with its strong Christian overtones are shoved down your throat. I liked The Travelling Cat Chronicles and this is so not similar. The racism of calling the devil character 'Aloha' is bad.

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I expected too much.

I just knew I would be in love with this story....and I might have, had I been able to listen to the end. But it just seemed to get too repetitive in the story line and I found myself bored. :( I might try again down the line.
Maybe I should just read it.
The narration was okay except for the whispery, breathless attempt at doing the woman/girlfriend's speaking part. The more it happened, the more it made me -- I'm so sorry -- cringe. A slight change in tone and cadence would have sufficed. I just listened to William Jackson Harper narrating a book, and it was absolute delight. He didn't overtry when speaking the female parts and it rolled along smoothly without any confusion.

I also found this story to be awkward when relating to the whole ex-girlfriend portion. It just wasn't believeable. Maybe it's cultural and my Western approach. I'll give that weight.
I thought I would take away some underlying wisdom from this story.... and maybe I will if I can ever finish it. Unfortunately, I just could not continue. I hope someone can encourage me to finish it and convice me that I will love it at the end if I do.

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Possibly my most favorite story EVER

This is the best, most valuable story I have heard or read in a long time. It is humorous and poignant at the same time. Deeply philosophical. Highly recommend.

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Most disappointing.

Save your credit. This book was one of the worst I’ve ever finished. The only reason I didn’t return it after the first 20 minutes was because it was part of a reading group.

Maybe something got lost in the translation. Maybe this book is for preteens, but I could wait for it to end.