A physician and award-winning writer, Sosuke Natsukawa is best known to Japanese audiences for his medical-themed novel “In His Chart” (“Kamisama no Karute”), which has been adapted for the big screen and TV. His English-language debut, however, combines elements of fantasy, coming-of-age and classic literature in a tale about a reticent teenager with hikikomori (reclusive) tendencies and the straight-talking feline who enters his life.

The Cat Who Saved Books, by Sosuke NatsukawaTranslated by Louise Heal Kawai208 pagesHARPERVIA

Raised by his caring grandfather, high school student Rintaro is suddenly faced with closing the family business — a secondhand bookshop specializing in literary classics — when the old man dies. For a shy boy who has always found solace in the shop and its books, the future seems bleak. Things take an unexpected turn when a cat named Tiger strolls nonchalantly into the shop, announcing that he needs Rintaro’s assistance to save books from mistreatment at the hands of their thoughtless owners.