Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two of the final books I was able to finish last year, belonging to completely different genres but both books I’ve been meaning to read. Manhunters is a non fiction account of the hunt for Pablo Escobar, which turned out to be an excellent read… And I had a great time with If Cats Disappeared From The World as well.


Title: Manhunters
Author: Steve Murphy & Javier F. Peña

Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir, True Crime
First published: November 12th 2019
Publisher: Headline
Finished reading: December 27th 2020
Pages: 352

“Escobar’s savagery would end up spelling his own doom.”


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I’ve always had a special interest in anything related to the war on drugs, and after watching and loving the Netflix show Narcos I simply couldn’t resist adding this memoir to my wishlist as soon as I first heard about it. I’m not sure why it took me this long to actually pick it up, but I’m definitely kicking myself now as I had an excellent time with this non fiction account of the hunt for Pablo Escobar. I’ve already been able to learn a lot about this turbulent time in Colombia over the years, but this memoir was a great way of refreshing those memories as well as adding more details. Manhunters reads easily and is perfect for both Pablo Escobar newbies and those who already know quite a lot about what happened… The memoir switches between Steve and Javier’s POV, first giving us a little background on their past and how they ended up in Colombia, and later showing us in detail what happened during their hunt for Pablo Escobar. Their background gives this story a personal touch, and makes it so much more enjoyable to read than simply your typical non fiction account of the hunt… And it was also enlightening to see their roles as well as many others finally being properly acknowledged. I can recommend this memoir to anyone who wants to learn a little more about what happened during the years of the international hunt for Pablo Escobar! The Netflix show is likewise excellent.


Title: If Cats Disappeared From The World
Author: Genki Kawamura

Translator: Eric Selland
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Magical Realism
First published: August 30th 2012
Publisher: Picador
Finished reading: December 28th 2020
Pages: 202
(Originally written in Japanese: ‘世界から猫が消えたなら’)

“It’s the future you’ll never get to see that you really regret missing most of all when you die.”


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My crazy cat lady status is no secret, and I’ve been meaning to read If Cats Disappeared From The World for a while now… I’ve seen this book mentioned together with The Travelling Cat Chronicles, which is one of my all time favorites, so I had extremely high expectations for this story. And even though it didn’t manage to blow me away completely, it still turned out to be an interesting read. Cats don’t really play all that big of a role as a whole, although the main character’s cat Cabbage (and Lettuce) do appear quite a lot… Instead, this story focuses on family, death and the questions what gives life meaning and what would we sacrifice to pospone our own death. Reality is mixed with the surreal as soon as the Devil shows up with a proposition for our main character… If Cats Disappeared From The World is a great piece of magical realism that isn’t too dense or absurd to put you off if you aren’t all that big of a fan of the genre. It was interesting to learn more about the past of the main character, and while some parts were a bit slow, overall I enjoyed my time with it. Would I have liked to see more focus on cats? Oh yes. But we do also get a lot of movie references, a quick trip to Argentina and a bunch of interesting life questions. Japanese fiction can go both ways for me, but I really enjoyed my time with Genki Kawamura‘s writing.


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