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Meow: A Novel Reviewed by Japan's RocketNews24

I seriously read "Meow: A Novel" in cat language

by Seiji Nakazawa

April 6, 2023

Article translated from the original Japanese:

Amazon sells everything -- from daily necessities to luxury goods, from branded goods to super-cheap Chinese products, there's too much to list. Among this near-infinite selection, I found a cat-language novel.

The name of the book is Meow: A Novel. The author is a foreigner named Sam Austen. According to Amazon's product description, it is written for cats, in their native language. How is this a cat-language novel ...?

Only the front and back covers are viewable on Amazon's preview page. The front cover is a picture of a cat, and the back cover has what appears to be a description of the book in English. According to the description, the book appears to be Sam Austin's debut novel . Now, who is Sam Austin?

・Sam Austen

An additional biography of the author is available in the book's Amazon description:

“Sam Austen is an internationally recognized author and professor of feline psychology. In 2021, he began work on his magnum opus, Meow, which concluded with him physically transforming into a cat and retreating under a damp cardboard box."

In the end, it will be like Kafka...

Something's going on, here.

Even though it's a debut work, it's already been recognized internationally. However, if you google the psychology of cats, it seems that it's serious field of study, so it's hard to tell if Sam is bullshitting. So I bought it.

The paperback version is 2540 yen including tax. High! That's what I thought when I bought it, but when I saw the actual product...

Insanely thick .


I write about Nishio Isin. It's amazing to be able to write this much in cat language. It may be an unexpectedly genius work, I thought, and when I read it ...

...every word is "meow."

For example, the first chapter in the table of contents is "MEOW" and the second is "MEOW, MEOW MEOW." The first sentences are "Meow meow meow meow meow, meow. Meow meow meow meow. Meow? Meow."

There are 341 pages filled with "meow."

I read it carefully.

Okay, if this was really a cat language, cats wouldn't have the concentration to read it. However, I have paid 2540 yen, and I'm going to get my money's worth.

In the text, there are sometimes parts separated by quotation marks. I see, it's not just a copy and paste, but the characters are actually having a conversation. Well, that's what I think, at least. I don't even know the characters' names.

The Experience

However, I feel that there is a flow just by knowing the cats are having a conversation. There is a feeling of "Ah! He just spoke!" (Also, when you think of a cat monologue, it's cute.)

Still, I couldn't escape the feeling that there is nothing to read except between the lines. But as I read on, I realized something.

Occasionally, different cries are thrown into the mix . For example, the third word in the title on page 30 is "MEW," not "MEOW". Also, on pages 138, 230, and 306, there is the cry ``m'eow'' that seems to be an abbreviation for something.

Furthermore, on pages 279, 312, 314, and 341 there is a description of "meow-meow," and on page 326 it is written "meow: meow." The most intriguing instance of this wordplay is on page 323. The cry written in the middle of this page is "MEOW"! It's not even a title, but it's all capital letters!

But I don't know.

I wonder if it's written by a cat because it's too avant-garde... Ah, that might be cute! 

From page 300 onwards, "meow" begins to look like "mercy," "now," "over," or "never . " Gestalt collapse might be the intention, here.

Rave Reviews

The book is highly rated on Amazon -- 85% of reviews are five stars, with the remaining 15% being four stars. Comments include "best book ever" and "definitely a great novel for cat lovers".

For those who are a little concerned, the Kindle version is 658 yen including tax, which is a quarter of the paperback's price, so you may want to try this one first. By the way, the Audible version (3,100 yen including tax) is also on sale, and it's impressive that there are so many variations in format .

-Seiji Nakazawa Photo Credit: Rocketnews24.


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