Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: "Parade" by Shuichi Yoshida

It has been awhile since I have read a book that was so boring, with a plot that careens so fast towards nowhere and with characters so unlikable as Shuichi Yoshida’s Parade. Reading it, it felt like one a low rent novel of another Japanese writer, Ryu Murakami, and since I really don’t like the books he has written, I really didn’t enjoy this novel, since it is setup like Murakami’s Almost Transparent Blue, except it is twice as long and never takes the kind of odd risks that made that book more enjoyable than it actually deserved to be. In this novel, despite the comparison on the back to Steig Larsson, it can be argued that nothing actually happens here, and the writer seems to be more interested in the disparate, yet uninteresting details of the lives of these young people, which can’t help but come off as painfully one-dimensional. While they are certainly interchangeable, each of these five people, living in modern day Tokyo have their own issues. There is one guy, an economics major working at a fast food place who is sleeping with his best friends girlfriend, a girl who is obsessed with her famous boyfriend, even though he has no intentions of calling her like he promised, another girl who has a drinking problem exacerbated by her poor choice in friends, and finally, an older film director, who seems to have it all together. Into this world comes a young male prostitute who stirs up trouble. There is rarely a moment in this book that doesn’t come off as pretentious, arrogant, and downright unpleasant. While it is fun to watch these five morons wallow in their own self-hatred, too smart to realize how stupid they are, but it really doesn’t add up to anything resembling a pleasant reading experience.

Rating: 2/5

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