Monday, September 23, 2019

Welcome in Fall with a Good Book -- From the Acclaimed Eisner-Winner, Taiyo Matsumoto, Comes the Surreal THE CATS OF THE LOUVRE (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

(Also available in Kindle format)

I was first turned onto manga comics (AKA Japanese graphic novels) back when I was in college.  I lived on the international dorm floor which housed all the foreign exchange students, many of whom have become life-long friends of mine.  One friend who was on VISA here for the year studying English was a girl from Japan.  She would always tote around a handful of books when walking through the halls, and one day I had her show me what they were.  I was surprised to find she was reading bound comic books, but she corrected me and said they were manga books.  All the manga books she had were in Japanese, so they weren't something she could pass along for me to read and get a feel for, as I wasn't fluent in Japanese. But, our friendship grew from their books, as she took time to translate the books to me, as we enjoyed them together.  Her love for these books got me excited to read them, and then my passion for manga books grew from there.  Since then, I have read countless manga books which have been translated into English, including this recent release from Taiyo Matsumoto.  If you are into manga books then you probably know about Taiyo Matsumoto. He is one of the most unpredictable manga author's out there, and that is why I and so many others love his books.  So, when I heard he was releasing THE CATS OF THE LOUVRE (arrived in stores on Sept. 17th), I jumped at the opportunity to review it when asked.  

I was sent a review copy last week, and within 2 hours, I had read this manga graphic novel cover to cover.  I will say, it was a little hard to get into at first, but after the first 20 pages, I was hooked, and couldn't put the book down.  Like the title of the book suggests, this book is about cats that live at Louvre, well technically in the attic...but, they come out at night and that is when the surreal world comes to life.  And, leave it to  Taiyo Matsumoto to offer up an unusual take on the cats of the Louvre.   The white cat you see on the cover of the book is Snowbebe.    He is just one of many cats who you will meet when you sit to read this book, that will have you wondering if the paintings can talk, and if Snowbebe can walk through the paintings.  As you read the story, you will notice something odd about Snowbebe...he never grows up or gets bigger. He remains small and kitten-like, and that will lend to the story, in that you wonder why Snowbebe is not getting older  - is he afraid to grow up, or is something wrong with him?

I think one of the reasons it was hard for me to get into the book right from the start, was that I was getting caught up on the illustrations, and forgetting what I was reading.  So, I found myself flipping back a few pages to get caught up, so that I could understand the story unfolding right before my eyes. But, like I said, once I got the gist of the story and what was happening during the night at the Louvre with Snowbebe and the other cats, I was hooked, and couldn't stop reading this book.

While my Japanese friend is no longer in the states, I was still able to reach out to her online to talk about this book.  She had read the book and was eager to share her take on the story and Snowbebe, and it was fun to hear how she interpreted the story and plot line, which was different from what I took away from it.  But, in the end, we both agreed that this new book from Taiyo Matsumoto was really good, and a must read for fans of manga books.

About this book:

"A surreal tale of the secret world of the cats of the Louvre, told by Eisner Award winner Taiyo Matsumoto.

The world-renowned Louvre museum in Paris contains more than just the most famous works of art in history. At night, within its darkened galleries, an unseen and surreal world comes alive—a world witnessed only by the small family of cats that lives in the attic. Until now…

Translated by Tekkonkinkreet film director Michael Arias."

  • Series: Cats of the Louvre
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC (September 17, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1974707083
  • ISBN-13: 978-1974707089
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 8.6 inches


About the Author:

One of the most influential and innovative manga artists currently working in Japan, Taiyo Matsumoto is best known to English-reading audiences as the creator of GoGo Monster, Number Five, and Tekkonkinkreet, which was made into a critically acclaimed animated film of the same name. In 2007, Matsumoto was awarded a Japan Media Arts Festival Award for Excellence, and in 2008, he won the prestigious Eisner Award for the English publication of Tekkonkinkreet.

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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