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Promenade of the Gods Hardcover – August 26, 2008
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“A tensely wrought tale. Suzuki doesn't stereotype true believers as mindless automatons, the way they've been frequently portrayed in the mass media. He nevertheless provides interesting insights into how people in a spiritual vacuum are drawn to cults. The climax is presented in a deviously clever manner… The style supports the narrative, raising tension through artful understatement while working in unexpected shocks. Promenade is a fine effort, with a ring of plausibility that subtly revives the mood back in March 1995, when the public's fears of Shoko Asahara’s doomsday cult were palpable.” —Mark Schreiber, The Japan Times
The Japanese attitudes presented in the book are interesting, from the formality at various encounters to how the police treat the kidnappings to the way the media reacts. Suzuki obviously also means to show how people look to fulfill their ambitions and dreams, from lackadaisical Shirow, unsure whether or not to pursue Miyuki, to his star employee, who just dreams of flying, to Miyuki, willing to perform ignominious sex acts because she can't imagine anything better; part of the (peculiar) fun of the novel is how Suzuki presents these quests for fulfillment. --The Complete Review
"...a rewarding and enjoyable tale."--Ken Haley
About the Author
Koji Suzuki was born in 1957 in Hamamatsu, southwest of Tokyo. He attended Keio University where he majored in French. After graduating he held numerous odd jobs, including a stint as a cram school teacher. Also a self-described jock, he holds a first-class yachting license and crossed the U.S., from Key West to Los Angeles, on his motorcycle.The father of two daughters, Suzuki is a respected authority on childrearing and has written numerous works on the subject. He acquired his expertise when he was a struggling writer and househusband. Suzuki also has translated a children's book into Japanese, The Little Sod Diaries by the crime novelist Simon Brett.In 1990, Suzuki's first full-length work, Paradise won the Japanese Fantasy Novel Award and launched his career as a fiction writer. Ring, written with a baby on his lap, catapulted him to fame, and the multi-million selling sequels Spiral and Loop cemented his reputation as a world-class talent. Often called the "Stephen King of Japan," Suzuki has played a crucial role in establishing mainstream credentials for horror novels in his country. He is based in Tokyo but loves to travel, often in the United States. Birthday is his sixth novel to appear in English.
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Put simply, Promenade of the Gods is sort of like the child of 'Paradise', Suzuki's first book, and the Ring series. It's like this interesting amalgamation of the deeper elements of 'Paradise' with the fast paced and engaging mystery/thriller elements of the Ring series. I'm not sure the former translated well for me and I wonder if that has to do with cultural differences. The book also takes a very surprising tone toward the end but I shouldn't reveal too much about that as it would ruin the book I think.
All in all it was an enjoyable read but the more suspenseful and mysterious elements felt to me like they tapered off and got lost and the book seemed to never again regain that pace. You definitely have to come at it with no expectations of anything similar to the horror elements of the Ring series. It just doesn't happen in this book.
maybe i missed something that made it all worth while?
there was the search for the missing husband. it was interesting to a point. but then it tapered out...
and, despite having at least one character in common with The Ring, there was nothing that felt scary or supernatural in this one. but maybe that's what i missed somehow?
if someone can explain this book, please let me know.