Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Review of Parade by Shuichi Yoshida (Harvill Secker 2014, Japanese 2002)
Parade is somewhat of a curious book. It is marketed as crime fiction, with a tagline of ‘A masterpiece in tension’, yet crime is almost incidental to the story and there is practically no tension in the story or its telling. Instead, Parade is a literary novel about alienation and estrangement in modern society; of not quite fitting in, of lacking direction and purpose, of desiring what cannot be obtained. While the timeline is linear, each of the chapters is told from the perspective of five people sharing an apartment, each of whom has kind of drifted into living there. Each is told in the first person, with the character reflecting on their own life – their history and ambitions, their relationships with others – and setting out their view of the world. In this way, a wider narrative about the interactions and friendship between the five is examined, as well as Japanese society more broadly. It was a sombre rather than tense read, a kind of literary soap opera of urban alienation which, for the most part is a thoughtful reflection on modern life.