[Looking for nominations!] Intermediate Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: セーラー服と機関銃

パレード

Author: 吉田 修一
Page count: 282
Natively:パレード | L30?? (not graded yet)

Summary

Japanese

都内の2LDKマンションに暮らす男女4人の若者達。「上辺だけの付き合い? 私にはそれくらいが丁度いい」。それぞれが不安や焦燥感を抱えながらも、“本当の自分”を装うことで優しく怠惰に続く共同生活。そこに男娼をするサトルが加わり、徐々に小さな波紋が広がり始め…。発売直後から各紙誌の絶賛を浴びた、第15回山本周五郎賞受賞作。

English

In a crowded two-bedroom apartment in Tokyo, four Japanese twenty-somethings are waiting for their lives to begin. They have come from all over Japan, bringing with them dreams of success and romance, but life isn’t exactly going as planned. Kotomi waits by the phone for a boyfriend who never calls, Ryosuke is sleeping with his best friend’s girlfriend, and Mirai’s drinking has become a serious problem. Only Naoki, an aspiring filmmaker and the glue that keeps them all together, seems to be on the right track. Meanwhile, their next door neighbors are up to something suspicious, and a mysterious attacker is terrorizing the neighborhood.

When a homeless teenager suddenly appears, his arrival sets off a chain of events that will bring to light dark secrets the tenants of Apt. 401 have kept from one another—and from themselves. Parade—from Shuichi Yoshida (“Japan’s Stieg Larsson” —The Wall Street Journal), the wildly popular author of Villain—is a shocking story of life in the big city.

Availability

Amazon paperback
Amazon Ebook
Bookwalker

Personal Opinion

I was idly browsing for Japanese crime fiction recommendations and I happened upon this in translation. It looked interesting, so I got it when it was on offer on Bookwalker, but haven’t read it yet. Apparently it’s not really a crime novel, although there is some tension, but rather a portrayal of the lives of a group of youths sharing an apartment in Tokyo. We get to see the points of view of all the roommates, which is always an interesting approach for me.
The author has won the 山本周五郎 award, a literary award given to novels and literary works with excellent storytelling, for this book, and the Akutagawa prize for another book of his, パーク・ライフ.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Award winning book and author
  • Multiple points of view
  • Good character portrayals and tension (reportedly)
  • It’s been translated into English (and Italian, possibly other languages too?)

Cons

  • Although it is framed as a crime novel, some reviews complained that it was more slice-of-life and led nowhere. (this may also be a pro of course)
  • The situations described may be a little outdated, according to reviews. For what it’s worth, the book was written in 2002. (which still feels like last year to me, but that’s neither here nor there)
  • I’m not sure about any content warnings. I haven’t seen any mentioned in reviews but I haven’t searched too deeply.

Pictures

You can read the first 26 pages on Bookwalker.

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

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