Two Disappointing Novellas: The Day of the Owl and The Guest Cat

The Day of the Owl

The Day Of The Owl by Leonard Sciascia

Translated from the Italian by Archibald Colquhoun

Five words from the blurb: Sicily, murder, mafia, investigation, cold

The Day of the Owl begins with a man being murdered in front of a bus load of people. The sawn-off shotgun used in the attack suggests that it is a mafia killing, but no one is willing to admit they saw the shooting so the investigation runs cold.

This book is an examination of the mafia presence in Sicily. I found it interesting to read about this topic/setting for the first time, but most of the book did nothing for me. I think the problem was my unfamiliarity with the subject matter. The subtlety of the political messages went over my head and the large number of Italian words frustrated me. I only finished the book because it was so short.

Recommended to those with a knowledge of Italian political history and its connection with the mafia.

The Guest Cat

The Guest Cat by Takashi Hirade

Translated from the Japanese by Eric Selland

Five words from the blurb: couple, writers, cat, visits, together

The Guest Cat is a quiet book about a couple who work from home as freelance writers. Beautifully poetic writing describes their everyday lives and the interactions they have with a cat that decides to visit them.

Unfortunately, perhaps because I’m more of a dog person, this book did nothing for me. The couple’s life was boring and I failed to see the attraction of reading endless descriptions of what the cat did. I normally love Japanese books, but this one didn’t contain any of the usual culinary, cultural or mythological aspects of Japanese society that I enjoy reading about.

If you love cats and enjoy vivid descriptions of how they wander in and out of people’s lives then this is for you, but if you’re after any plot or emotion then I’d avoid it.


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  1. Jeane says:

    I might like the cat one, but from your lack of enthusiasm it will probably be on the bottom of my TBR list.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jeane, You might enjoy it. I’m just not fond of reading about what cats do – I prefer a bit more action!

  2. Annabel says:

    I’ve had the Sciascia book sitting in my bookcase by my bed for years. Given that it is only a novella, I should just read it and see if I come to the same conclusion!

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, Yes, it’s a very short book. I’d love to compare notes!

  3. Marina Sofia says:

    You can’t love them all and I know what you mean about books leaving you with a bit of a ‘so what’ feeling after finishing them. I do like the sound of the cat one, but then I am a cat person.

    1. Jackie says:

      Marina, I think I’m becoming more fussy. Very few books excite me these days :-(

  4. I often think I’d rather read a bad book than a “meh” one. At least one can complain and have stronger feelings about bad ones ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      Alex, Yes! At least bad books elicit some strong emotion.

  5. I read The Wine Dark Sea by Sciascia and found it to be tough going. That’s all I recall about it now. It was good, but it was difficult. I think I have one other title by him on my TBR bookcase.

    Of course, you know that I prefer dogs, so…..


    1. Jackie says:

      James, Yes, I’m not planning to try any of his other books until I have a stronger knowledge of Italian history. I wonder if he will make more sense then?

      Let me know if you find a good dog book!


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