Author : Ryū Murakami. Translated by: Ralph McCarthy Genre : Horror / Mystery No. of Pages : 200 Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing My Rating : ★★★/ 5
Documentary-maker Aoyama hasn’t dated anyone in the seven years since the death of his beloved wife, Ryoko. Now even his teenage son Shige has suggested he think about remarrying. So when his best friend Yoshikawa comes up with a plan to hold fake film auditions so that Aoyama can choose a new bride, he decides to go along with the idea. Of the thousands who apply, Aoyama only has eyes for Yamasaki Asami, a young, beautiful, delicate and talented ballerina with a turbulent past. But there is more to her than Aoyama, blinded by his infatuation, can see, and by the time he discovers the terrifying truth it may be too late. Ryu Murakami delivers his most subtle and disturbing novel yet, confirming him as Japan’s master of the psycho-thriller.
Audition was a total impulse purchase! I’d got this in my Eloor library haul only because it’s horror+written by a Japanese author. This turned out to be a very interesting read. Based on the blurb, I went into the book expecting some level of creepiness and horror elements, and of course it had some truly stomach-churning gory scenes. Can’t say I was disappointed. I definitely enjoyed the whole femme fatale, lady psychopath thing Asami had going on. Honey-trapping unsuspecting men is a trope that never gets old for me. 😂
My problem with the book was not the gore, but the extremely slow build-up. Because of that, it felt like things escalated too quickly and ended all too soon. The ending was a bit disappointing in how quick and easy it was. I also thought the story was weirdly structured; it would have really helped if the chapters were differentiated to show the readers whose POV we’re supposed to be reading. One thing I never understood was how a vital piece of Asami’s past highlight for potential spoiler: the bit about her stepfather’s abuse of her is told through Aoyama’s dream. That doesn’t make sense AT ALL. why would he dream about something that had nothing to do with him? That’s not how dreams work??? This is why I think having a couple of chapters through Asami’s POV would have elevated the reading experience as a whole, in my opinion.
After finishing the book, I went and watched the movie because apparently, it’s a cult classic?
and holy shit?? Reading it was one thing, but *watching* it was a whoooole different experience. They didn’t have to add new torture scenes is all I’m saying….
That said, I still think the book was better. I’d recommend this if you are in mood for a bit of gore and a quick read that doesn’t take up much of your time. This book checks all those boxes.