Sometimes I just don’t get it no matter how closely I read a book. Take Parade by Shuichi Yoshida. I read Villain: A Novel a couple of years back and my comment for that novel and its author was: Detailed; exacting; complex; boring. I suspect my comments for Parade would be similar if not worse.
The novel deals with four main characters who share an apartment: two bedrooms, two women, and two men. The novel is structured in multiple parts, each being narrated by a different roommate. Somewhere early on there is a Chekov moment when a warning is being distributed about brutal attacks on lone women in the neighborhood. Other than some speculation that a young hustler crashing on the sofa might be nefarious, there really is nothing in the different narratives to suggest a solution to the mystery or even to suggest that the mysterious attacks are a significant element of the narrative.
Until the very end when the smoking pistol falls off the mantel. Also, there is an interesting twist in the solution. Unfortunately, none of this is earned by the narrative. It just goes on and on, detail after detail, little mention of the mystery, and suddenly the narrative confession pops out.
Still, Parade is well written if not well developed: I didn’t hate it, just found it tedious with no direction.
One review, however, did make sense when it called Parade — a sharply observed slice of urban alienation. But is alienation too far removed from boredom?
Wikipedia provides an extensive list of the works of Shuichi Yoshida, unforunately there are few translated into English at this time:
Parēdo (Parade) (パレード?), 2002 (Parade, London: Harvill Secker, 2014)
TōKyō Wankei (東京湾景?), 2003
Nagasaki Ranraku-Zaka (長崎乱楽坂?), 2004
Rando Māku (Landmark) (ランドマーク?), 2004
Shichi Gatsu Nijū Yokka Dōri (7月24日通り?), 2004
Hinata (ひなた?), 2006
Akunin (悪人?), 2007 (Villain, London: Pantheon, 2010)
Shizuka na Bakudan (静かな爆弾?), 2008
Sayonara Keikoku (さよなら渓谷?), 2008
Moto Shokukin (元職員?), 2008
Yokomichi Yonosuke (横道世之介?), 2009
Heisei Saru Kani Kassenzu (平成猿蟹合戦図?), 2011
Taiyō wa Ugokanai (太陽は動かない?), 2012
Rū (路（ルウ）?), 2012
Ai ni Ranbō (愛に乱暴?), 2013
Ikari (怒り?), 2014
Short story collections
Saigo no Musuko (最後の息子?), 1999
Nettaigyo (熱帯魚?), 2001
Pāku Raifu (Park Life) (パーク・ライフ?), 2002
Nichiyōbi tachi (日曜日たち?), 2003
Haru, Bānīzu de (春、バーニーズで?), 2004
Onna tachi wa Ni do Asobu (女たちは二度遊ぶ?), 2006
Hatsukoi Onsen (初恋温泉?), 2006
Urizun (うりずん?), 2007
Ano Sora no Shita de (あの空の下で?), 2008
Kyanserusareta Machi no Annai (キャンセルされた街の案内?), 2009
Sora no Bōken (空の冒険?), 2010