The premise behind Nick Bradley’s “The Cat and the City” is sound enough: a series of short stories or vignettes that are linked together by a range of characters who variously flit in and out of each – and by the appearance of a calico cat in just about every one.
The collection starts out well enough, and starting to draw the threads between the initial stories is simple. But at some point it became harder. I’m not sure whether that was because – as a European – keeping track of all the Japanese names and associating them to a character was difficult, or because there were gradually too many individuals to worry about. And perhaps that – as a result of both the number of characters and stories – they were not quite coloured-in well enough to stick.
I’m not saying that there is anything inadequate about Bradley’s prose, far from it; but perhaps the overall effect and impact of his narrative has been compromised by the structure in which it is framed.
Or maybe that’s just me.