Cat Power

Rating Haruki Murakami's feline intuition

Haruki Murakami's new novel 1Q84 follows the Japanese author's patented formula: a detached male protagonist, a weird teenage girl with mystical insights, a creepy authoritarian cult and, of course, cats.

Cats are key to Murakami. The jazz bar he once ran was called Peter Cat, and Murakami himself is catlike: aloof and independent, fastidious yet dreamy. Cats are frequent characters in Murakami novels too--and the more cats, the better. Hence our ratings.

1Q84

In "Town of Cats," a story that the protag-onist reads to his father, a traveler visits a place populated only by cats and finds himself "irretrievably lost." The...