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.
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Ryu Murakami, is one of my contemporary “go to” writers. He’s very good but perhaps more important, he’s very versatile and although his works generally provide a representation of life in the Japan of today, sometimes he writes fantasy, sometimes horror, sometimes hip-hop counter culture. Ryu Murakami is also a talented film maker.
We met Ryu earlier with his scary/gory/upsetting novel Audition. Popular Hits of the Showa Era is almost as violent but the violence is more stylized and less ritualistic. Here the story is of a group of young men who are not exactly friends but they regularly meet to try and find some excitement in their lives. The weekly routine eventually becomes getting drunk, having a rousing game of Stone-Scissors-Paper, and engaging in an elaborate Karaoke show on a deserted beach in the middle of the night.
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