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Audition [Paperback]

Ryu Murakami

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Book Description

May 25 2010
In this gloriously over-the-top tale, Aoyama, a widower who has lived alone with his son ever since his wife died seven years before, finally decides it is time to remarry. Since Aoyama is a bit rusty when it comes to dating, a filmmaker friend proposes that, in order to attract the perfect wife, they do a casting call for a movie they don t intend to produce. As the resumes pile up, only one of the applicants catches Aoyama s attention Yamasaki Asami a striking young former ballerina with a mysterious past. Blinded by his instant and total infatuation, Aoyama is too late in discovering that she is a far cry from the innocent young woman he imagines her to be. The novel s fast-paced, thriller conclusion doesn t spare the reader as Yamasaki takes off her angelic mask and reveals what lies beneath."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton; 1 edition (May 25 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039333841X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393338416
  • Product Dimensions: 20.9 x 14.2 x 1.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #53,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'The prose in these passages is elegiac and affecting, but it has the sharp, visceral feel of the butcher's knife or surgeons scalpel a highly compulsive, one-sitting read, and Audition should add to the Renaissance Man's growing fanbase in the English speaking world' Irvine Welsh, Guardian 'Murakami has gained a reputation as a diagnostician of Japanese culture in the Bret Easton Ellis/Chuck Palahniuk mode for all his gory details, and his insistence that modern life is just one more movie, Murakami remains a romantic. Trauma and nostalgia may defeat each other, but there's always hope in the form of the next generation' Telegraph PRAISE FOR PIERCING 'There are echoes here of Edgar Allan Poe and Dostoevsky - Murakami shares their fascination with the darkest layer of the soul, and the appalling isolation of the criminal. Creepy and gripping' The Times 'The fame, or even notoriety, of Ryu Murakami lies in his ability to write tightly plotted, well-written tales of violence, seedy sex and horror combined with a vivid sense of the neon-slashed but oppressive atmosphere of the Tokyo street, all underpinned with a fashionable nihilism' Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Renaissance man for the modern age, Ryu Murakami has played drums for a rock group, made movies and hosted a TV talk show. His first novel, Almost Transparent Blue, written while he was still a student, was awarded Japan's most coveted literary prize and went on to sell over a million copies. He is also the author of In the Miso Soup and Piercing, both published in English by Bloomsbury. Ralph McCarthy is the translator of 69, In The Miso Soup and Piercing by Ryu Murakami and two collections of stories by Osamu Dazai. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for members of PETA Jan. 31 2013
By Steven - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having seen the film prior to reading this I essentially knew what was going to happen, but the build up was still interesting. I love Murakami and hope to see more of his books on Kindle soon. If you enjoy unlikely sociopaths, indifferent teenage sons, and a shameful yet plausible means of meeting women this books for you. Asians will forever be at the forefront of true horror.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but not for everyone. May 7 2011
By Logan - Published on
I just finished this book, and it was a refreshing, page-turning thriller. This was the first book I have read by Ryu Murakami, but I will definitely be reading more. Before reading this book though, you should know that Murakami lavishly describes every single detail of the intense scenes, whether that be of sex or extreme violence. If you cannot handle that, don't read this book. If on the other hand you love that sort of thing, I also recommended to you Natsuo Kirino's "OUT."

The key to getting the most out of this emotional roller coaster of a book is reading it in one sitting. It is pretty short, and I read it in about 5 hours. The rhythm and building of the story is of vital importance, so taking breaks makes it hard to appreciate it.

A movie was made out of this novel, so I am very excited to see it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sort of a fun yet macabre story Nov. 12 2013
By lazza - Published on
'Audition' is a short novel about a middle aged Japanese businessman looking for someone to marry, to be his second wife. He colludes with a friend to come up with phony movie concept and conduct an audition for the leading lady. Of course the qualifications for the part coincide exactly with the characteristics this man is looking for in a wife. Luckily enough he finds someone whom he more than likes. He becomes positively mesmerized, much to the dismay of those around him. Yet as he learns more about this woman he discovers she's not quite what she seems...

The book is somewhat two-dimensional; there isn't much in the way of complete characterizations, insightful dialogue, etc. It reads somewhat like a movie script than a novel. Still, the story is interesting. I felt myself drawn in, and I enjoyed it. So a quality read it ain't, but an enjoyable read it is.

Unsurprisingly, there is a film adaptation of the book. That adaptation takes liberty in expanding and twisting the plot somewhat, mostly to a positive effect. However I felt the leading actress didn't portray the main role very well, and I don't believe she quite looked the part. But overall the film adaptation is decent.

Bottom line: certainly not a classic but an entertaining read. Recommended.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Romance and horror Oct. 22 2010
By titania86 - Published on
Audition is at first a romance. Aoyama, a widower, decides get remarried after many years of being alone and raising his son. His friend comes up with the idea of creating a movie that will probably never be made to host an audition. Then Aoyama can specify what kind of woman he wants and have his choice in that group. It's a bit misogynistic, but sounds like a typical sweet romance set up. Aoyama meets Asami, a former ballerina with a melancholy air about her. They go on a few dates and then she disappears. This is also when the novel descends into madness.

I love Takashi Miike's film adaptation of Audition, so I was really excited when I found out it was finally translated into English. I thought it was interesting that the book excelled where the movie failed and vice versa. In the first fifteen pages in the book, the reader knows more about Aoyama and his family than in the entire movie. Giving Aoyama a realistic background endeared him to me and made me forgive his shortcomings more than in the film. The courtship between Asami and Aoyama was much more interesting and believable in the novel. There were many more dates than in the film and it involved more normal conversation, plus Aoyama fussing about what to do like a teenage boy. The first three quarters of the film were extremely boring, but provided a great contrast to the last quarter of the film. The only thing I'm going to say about the ending of the story is that the film was much better and much more effective. I wish I could combine the good parts of both versions of the story.

Overall, the book was very good. The crazy ending seems pretty out of the blue and abrupt, unlike the film, which has more of a lead into it. I loved the fleshing out of all the characters into people I can relate to and care about. I would especially recommend this book to fans of the film.
3.0 out of 5 stars Audition April 9 2014
By Steven Davis - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Aoyama, a Tokyo filmmaker, has been a widower for seven years. His teenage son Shige eventually asks him "Why don't you find yourself a new wife, Pops?" Aoyama, realizing that he has been avoiding female company for his son's sake, warms up to the idea, but at age 42 he has no idea how to go about it. His best friend suggests that he do what comes naturally to a filmmaker: hold an audition. So they concoct a fake film project and advertise for a leading lady with the special qualities Aoyama desires.

Right from the first interview, Aoyama realizes that Yamasaki Asami is the woman he is looking for. He barrels into a relationship, ignoring his friend's warning that there are signs this beautiful young woman isn't what she claims to be.

The plot of this thriller is simple and predictable. When it comes to scenes of sex, terror and violence, Murakami is at his best, but the rather shaky premise and hastily developed characters make Audition the weakest of the author's novels in English translation.

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