Ayo Onatade is an avid reader of crime and mystery fiction. She has been writing reviews, interviews and articles on the subject for the last 12 years; with an eclectic taste from historical to hardboiled, short stories and noir films
What do you get when you have four different types of personalities sharing a flat together? In this case certainly not something akin to “Friends”.
In Parade initially four twenty year-olds who all have secrets are sharing a flat together. One is hung up on her boyfriend despite the fact he never calls, another is also suffering from unrequited love for an older woman, the third is an alcoholic who would rather spend her time in gay bars and the oldest of the group talks in his sleep and has found himself being treated as the “elder” amongst the four of them. Into this rather strange group comes a homeless eighteen year-old male prostitute who keenly watches what is going on from the side lines.
Parade is told in five chapters switching to the point of view of each character. Over the course of the book the reader comes to learn how the “family” came together and it also encompasses a number of assaults that have been taking place in the neighbourhood. Who has been committing these assaults?
This is a rather strange novel and I am not really sure that it can accurately be considered a crime novel. It is much more of a surreal, tense disturbing tale of life in a Japanese city. Each character is slightly off-kilter and dysfunctional, but not in a very obvious way. The structure of the book is also very interesting as despite the fact that within each chapter you have five “voices” they do not I am pleased to say repeat themselves or go over the same thing said by a previous character. The three main things that were of interest in Parade description wise are the subsequent arrival of homeless eighteen year old, the disturbing activities of their neighbours and also the air of violence that is noticeable around where they live.
Parade is a rather creepy psychological novel that will make you see the lives of disengaged young Japanese people living in contemporary Japan in a totally different light. It also won the 2002 Yamamoto Shugoro prize in 2002 and was made into a film in 2010. I can’t say that I am totally surprised about it being made into a film it certainly had that visual vibe about it. Fascinating and disturbing, it is a book that shows the insidious life of a young disparate group with ease and dread. Not an easy read!