Review: “Audition” by Ryu Murakami

Posted: August 12, 2021 in Novel, Review, Scary Stuff
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I did say in my last post that I was going to try to get my thoughts out on this novel soon. As it happens, I ended up finishing it before bed, and now’s the first time I’ve had the opportunity to write out my thoughts.

The basis for the famous 1999 horror film from Takashi Miike, Audition follows Aoyoma, a father and widower who is ready to date and love again. However, he’s no idea where to start looking for a potential new wife. Luckily for him, his best friend has an idea: they’ll hold auditions for a movie they never intend to make, and Aoyama can pick a girl from any of the applicants. Through this crazy plan, Aoyama meets Yamazaki Asami, a former ballerina who is as mysterious as she is beautiful. And she’s quite beautiful. Problem is, there’s a bit of a dark side to her, and Aoyama is going to discover it pretty quickly. With disastrous consequences.

I may have gone into this one with too-high expectations. I know J-Horror can be hit or miss with me sometimes, but I’ve heard nothing but praise for the movie, so the book had to be good. Right? RIGHT?!

Sadly, I was wrong. As it turned out, this book felt kind of amateurish. The language is elegant and well-written, and the scenario presented within isn’t implausible. And Aoyama’s progression from a salaryman with a somewhat sexist/voyeuristic view of women to a very besotted man with a very narrow view of a particular woman is well written. However, the storyline is basic and nothing special, and there isn’t enough to Aoyama for us to really root for him. I would call it a slow-burn, but there has to be some tension to really make it worth that slow pace. It just comes off as slow and kinda boring.

And Asami’s reasons for becoming the villain that she is feels like it might have been written by a high schooler whose only knowledge of psychology comes from watching Criminal Minds reruns. Not to mention kind of ableist (though that might just be my interpretation).

All told, I’m assigning Audition by Ryu Murakami a 1.3 out of 5. One critic likened it to an early draft or treatment for the movie, and I kind of have to agree with that assessment. It’s the bare bones of what could have been a good, suspenseful story about a man’s love with a twisted femme fatale. As it is, though, it’s at best something to compare to the movie and maybe write an academic paper about.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I have one more review coming up, this one for a movie (not the Audition movie, though I will try to get my hands on that). And if anything else comes up, exciting news or weird musings, I’ll let you know.

Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

Comments
  1. You make a good point. If there are good bones for a story within a not-so-good book, a talented screenwriter can still write a fabulous screen play.

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