BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

The Parade by Dave Eggers [in Booklist]

As McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers’ default narrator-of-choice for over a dozen titles, Dion Graham improves – again – Eggers’ original with his meticulous, mellifluous aural presentation. Eggers’ latest is a slim, tense title that, on the page, might read more didactic parable than affecting novel.

Anonymity is key here: two employees – calling each other Four and Nine, “for reasons of security” – from an unnamed (western) company arrive in an unnamed (third-world) “nation recovering from years of civil war.” They have two weeks to build a major road in anticipation of the upcoming, eponymous parade. Four is the diligent, follow-every-rule veteran, Nine the irresponsible newbie curious for local adventures. Distractions, delays, disaster loom.

Beneath his resolute demeanor, Graham infuses Four with fraught frustration and hints at possible FOMO-regrets. While Nine often sounds more frat-boy foolish, Graham imbues him with occasional moments of cross-cultural connection in between his overprivileged posturing. The shock of Eggers’ Big Message on the final page could have dismissed the ending as cliché, but Graham’s observant, multi-layered narration proves otherwise.

Review: “Media,” Booklist Online, August 9, 2019

Readers: Adult

Published: 2019


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