I don’t usually review books on this blog, because I’ve been mostly reading biographies of silent movie stars and Depression-era criminals, so why would you guys care, right?
But I decided to delve into Japanese literature, except, you know, translations, because the only word I can read in Japanese is “bizu,” which means bead, and looks like a guy sitting down throwing a ball to a guy running with his arms behind him.
So I read Audition by Ryu Murakami. It’s a short book, around 127 pages or so, which means it’s not like I wasted more than a couple hours of my time (I read really fast, and by the end, I was skimming because I was like UGH WHEN IS THE NARRATOR GOING TO GET MURDERED ALREADY).
But I still wasted my time.
The gist of the story is that this jerk-ass piece of crap Aoyama has been widowed for seven years. He cheated on his wife, but she was a real classy lady, so she didn’t mind. Then she died, but, being a real classy lady, she died quickly and without complaint. So obviously she was A CARDBOARD CUTOUT AND NOT A REAL PERSON AT ALL. Like, Jesus, Murakami-san, I get that she’s not all that relevant to the plot, but she was so obviously fake.
Anyway, this cheating asshole Aoyama has this wonderful teenage son (whom he never spent time with before his wife’s death, but then he does, and they totally bond and whatever) who says: “Hey, dad, why don’t you get married again?”
So then Aoyama and this friend of his decide to fake a movie and hold auditions for the role of the main character, who coincidentally has all the traits Aoyama would want in a wife (those traits being 1) classically trained in some art or another; 2) being cool with his cheating; 3) dying without complaint).
So he finds this chick whose name I’ve already forgotten, and Aoyama falls head over heels for her because she is 1) like, 20 years younger than him; 2) the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen; 3) seems to match all his criteria for spousedom.
So they start dating, and everybody’s like, “I don’t know, there’s something odd about this chick,” even though she never does anything odd, it’s just this vibe they pick up on, but Aoyama’s like, “whatever, guys, she’s HOT,” and then finally in the last couple of pages she stalks him and tries to cut off his feet.
BUT SHE DOESN’T KILL HIM. She kills the dog.
Then his damn son comes home and rescues him by stabbing her in the throat. And then the book is over.
So I guess if you like a long, dull buildup to a jerk WHO DOESN’T EVEN HAVE THE DECENCY TO GET MURDERED and two-dimensional female characters and male characters being all, “Jeez, why aren’t there more beautiful, classy women for us sexist pigs to cheat on our long-suffering wives with?” then this is the book for you.