The Night Parade: A Speculative Memoir

HarperAudio. Nov. 2023. 9:16 hrs. ISBN 9780063213265. $27.99. MEMOIR
Monsters, real and in story, inhabit Lin’s haunting debut. Using lyrical prose and vivid details, Lin shares the story of her struggle with loss, misdiagnosed mental illness, grief, and fear, via tales of yōkai and other frightening figures from Japanese, Taiwanese, and Okinawan legends. Divided into four acts of a traditional Japanese structure, Lin’s memoir describes her different selves—storyteller, recorder of culture, daughter, wife, and mother. Between descriptions of her travels and life events, she interweaves folklore, myth, and legend. The nonlinear format and occasional second-person changes in perspective invite listeners to immerse themselves in her intricate thoughts. Lin broaches complex topics, asking what it means to simply exist while navigating culture, emotions, and mental illness. Unfortunately, the book’s beautiful and poignant illustrations by Lin’s sister Cori Nakamura Lin must be accessed through alternate electronic sources. Narrator Traci Kato-Kiriyama provides an accessible bridge between the author and her listeners. Kato-Kiriyama is careful to vary cadence and speed, occasionally pronouncing words more deliberately when necessary to convey a concept or a particular character.
VERDICT An excellent production, combining surrealism and fantasy with the relatable hardships of life. Humorous, heartbreaking, and determinedly honest, this unique memoir offers an unforgettable listening experience.
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