Soyabean and Tofu, two alley cats from Beijing, have recently moved to Jakarta with Mr and Mrs A, their human family.  Just as they are settling into a  tropical idyll of frangipani trees and long snoozes, strange goings on in the neighbourhood have them on alert. A rat is skulking about in the garden, a mysterious neighbour is making life difficult for everyone and the family’s beloved driver is attacked by a vicious mob. Separately, Mrs A, a journalist, is  discovering that under Indonesia’s surface calm, communal tensions are rife. As events snowball, the cats find themselves unwittingly sucked into a fake news network, that takes them deep into the underbelly of human politics.

A cat’s-eye view of human foibles, Pallavi Aiyar’s new novel is as much a humorous and poignant snap-shot of contemporary Indonesia, as a universal story about the power of friendship that will resonate with readers of all ages. "

Reviews

  • Interpreting the world through a feline’s point of view by Carol Andrade, The Free Press Journal

    Soyabean and Tofu have the potential to become distinctive figures with adventures to look forward to. Aiyar has a sharp eye for cat behaviour, especially with regard to their relationships with humans. It would be nice to be reassured that readers will not have to wait so long for their next fix.

  • Feline Fables by Sheila Kumar, The New Indian Express

    Under oodles of feline appeal, this is a story of distrust, othering, fanaticism, prejudice. As also the flip side of the coin: basic decency, kindness and optimism. As for those charm magnets Soyabean and Tofu, we can`t wait to read of their adventures in yet another new city, country.

  • Jakarta Tails: Review by Susan Blumberg-Kason, Asian Review of Books

    It’s a delightful story and although it can certainly be read by children 12 and up, it would be a light read for adults. The book’s message of tolerance resonates well coming from two non-humans, and is something of a balm in times that continue to be trying.

  • Best Books for Kids Age 9-12 by Five Books

    Jakarta Tails is the second pacy book about the globe-trotting former Beijing alley cats Soyabean and Tofu. Just as the cats are settling into an idyllic life of frangipani-scented snoozing in the Indonesian capital, a rat starts skulking about in the garden and the family’s beloved driver is attacked by a violent mob. As the cats get sucked into a fake news network, they provide a perceptive feline perspective on human behaviour. Meanwhile, they have to come to terms with some deep-rooted prejudices of their own.