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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!

3 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.

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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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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very Japanese

Loved it. emphasizes what's important 👍 the plot is quite interesting as well as the characters!

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Very good story

I love the story very much. It is a simple book. It made me think a lot of things. Very interesting concept.

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I never thought an Audiobook would make me cry

It helps put things in prospective. Kind if like the quote "humans have two lives. one before and one after they realize the only have one life to live". Its a beautiful story through and through

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Thought provoking and heart warming

This was just the book I needed to listen to. Full of interesting perspective on what it means to live and love.

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it's a nice story but...

Some good parts and ideas but mostly basic in the writing and story details. A clumsy attempt at being profound that comes across more corny than anything else.