Sosuke Natsukawa’s 2017 The Cat Who Saved Books: A Novel is a modern fable. The 2021 English translation is by Louise Heal Kawai.
Antisocial bookworm Rintaro Natsuki has been raised by his grandfather, a bookshop owner. After his grandfather dies, Rintaro finds himself the ward of his aunt, who doesn’t understand what the shop means to him. He is told to shut down the shop.
That’s a good excuse for the boy to stop attending high school. He spends each day in the shop … but rather than shut it down, he attends to customers as though no deadline were bearing down on him. He doesn’t want to see his grandfather’s legacy dismantled, but he doesn’t know how to stop the process. (Don’t hate his aunt; she would be happy to accommodate him if he were to tell her what he wanted … but he’s too withdrawn and passive to speak up.)
Then the talking cat walks into the store.
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