An unusually intimate, detailed and vivid picture of a place that is simultaneously private and open.

The New York Times Book Review

Takashi Hiraide

Takashi Hiraide was born in Moji, Kitakyushu in 1950. Hiraide has written numerous books of poetry and several books of genre-bending essays, including one on poetics and baseball. He currently lives in the west suburbs of Tokyo with a cat and his wife, the poet Michiyo Kawano. His novel, The Guest Cat, is a New York Times Bestseller.

cover image of the book The Guest Cat

The Guest Cat

A New York Times bestseller and winner of Japan’s Kiyama Shohei Literary Award, The Guest Cat (by the acclaimed poet Takashi Hiraide) is a subtly moving and exceptionally beautiful novel about the transient nature of life and idiosyncratic, but deeply felt, ways of living. A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo; they work at home, freelance copyediting, and no longer have very much to say to one another. But one day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. It leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. Soon they are buying treats for the cat and enjoying talks about the animal and all its little ways. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife — the days have more light and color. The novel brims with new small joys and many moments of staggering poetic beauty, but then something happens…

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cover image of the book For The Fighting Spirit Of The Walnut

For The Fighting Spirit Of The Walnut

The radiant subway. The wall that clears up, endless. A thundering prayer of steel that fastens together the days, a brush of cloud hanging upon it, O beginning, it is there—your nest. Thus the keynotes of Hiraide’s utterly original book-length poem unfold—a mix of narrative, autobiography, minute scientific observations, poetics, rhetorical experiments, hyper-realistic images, and playful linguistic subversions—all scored with the precision of a mathematical-musical structure.

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An unusually intimate, detailed and vivid picture of a place that is simultaneously private and open.

The New York Times Book Review

It’s clear there is a tradition of literary works centering on or featuring cats in modern Japanese, and we now have from New Directions a translation of a splendid addition to that list. … a work of subtleties revealed only with repeated readings. I recommend it unreservedly to the general reader.

Paul McCarthy, The Japan Times

The little feline sets off a chain of disquisitions on nature, destiny, joy, pleasure, and sorrow.

Huffington Post

A seemingly endless string of shape-shifting objects and experiences, whose splintering effect is enacted via a unique combination of speed and minutiae: what initially reads like free association turns out to be a near-microscopic record of emotions and phenomena.

Alan Gilbert, The Believer

Hiraide’s work really shines

Kenzaburo Oe

The Guest Cat is a rare treasure.


Even in translation, [Hiraide’s] fine poetry really shines. At times I am reminded of T.S. Eliot.

Kenzaburo Oe
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