Catfish Rolling

- Clara Kumagai


There’s a catfish under the islands of Japan and when it rolls the land rises and falls.

Sora hates the catfish whose rolling caused an earthquake so powerful it cracked time itself. It destroyed her home and took her mother. Now Sora and her scientist father live close to the zones – the wild and abandoned places where time runs faster or slower than normal. Sora is sensitive to the shifts, and her father recruits her help in exploring these liminal spaces.

But it’s dangerous there – and as she strays further inside in search of her mother, she finds that time distorts, memories fracture and shadows, a glimmer of things not entirely human, linger. After Sora’s father goes missing, she has no choice but to venture into uncharted spaces within the time zones to find him, her mother and perhaps even the catfish itself…



There’s a catfish under the islands of Japan. That’s what shakes everything up: the catfish twisting and turning in the mud beneath us. It rolls and the ground trembles, water crashes, time cracks and breaks.
I hate that catfish.


* Thanks to NetGalley and Zephyr for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. *

almost perfect:
This will be one of those elusive narratives that I won’t be able to review well because words can’t capture the magic of Catfish Rolling. There’s a feeling this story gives you that is impossible to explain, and I can already tell I’m doing this wrong.

Sora is very difficult to like and impossible to dislike. She’s abrupt and disengaged but too attached and won’t stop searching for a futile dream. Every moment with her is a tug of war, and it’s hard to tell if it’s because she is Canadian and Japanese and the cultures are warring within her or if that’s just who she is. She swings wildly from impersonal and respectful to sarcastic and blunt within the same conversation, no matter who she’s talking to. I think a lot of it comes with her age and the fact that she’s a little lost in life. Which is fair since the rest of her family is very lost, both with and without her.

I was fascinated by these time zones. The time catching up to objects when you remove them from the zone was such a beautiful touch. And the mysteries hiding in each journey varied so much that it’s not surprising most people were afraid of the zones. I want so much more information about why Sora is so unique – travelling between zones without much effect, keeping track of time so precisely, feeling zones and being able to judge their time, not to mention the electric shocks and fast-growing trees. The most frustrating thing about Catfish Rolling is that more and more mysteries are introduced, and almost none of them are solved. Kumagai is not here to answer your questions; she’s here to trap you in this narrative and keep you so intrigued you can’t escape.

Considering this is a fantasy book containing a lot of science, it’s not surprising that Catfish Rolling is more of a feeling than something that can be explained. I know I did a terrible job, but if you like sci-fi or fantasy even a little, I’d recommend you add this book to your TBR. And if you don’t, I’d still add it. Because although the sci-fi/fantasy components are fascinating, complex, and unexplained, there’s a lot more to this book than time travel and shadows with no bodies and catfish god folklore. And maybe read another review because I have no idea how to explain this book other than to say I loved it.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

See All Reviews   |   Quotes   |   Sort Reviews By:    # of Pages   |   Author [ Name | Gender | Nationality ]   |   DNF   |   Genre   |   Rating   |   Series   |   Title   |   Year Published


Like this:

Like Loading...
Would love your thoughts, please comment!x
%d bloggers like this: