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The Parade

A Novel
Written by: Dave Eggers
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 3 hrs and 43 mins
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of The Monk of Mokha and The Circle comes a taut, suspenseful story of two foreigners' role in a nation's fragile peace.

An unnamed country is leaving the darkness of a decade at war, and to commemorate the armistice, the government commissions a new road connecting two halves of the state. 

Two men, foreign contractors from the same company, are sent to finish the highway. While one is flighty and adventurous, wanting to experience the nightlife and people, the other wants only to do the work and go home. But both men must eventually face the absurdities of their positions and the dire consequences of their presence. 

With echoes of J. M. Coetzee and Graham Greene, this timeless novel questions whether we can ever understand another nation's war and what role we have in forging anyone's peace.

©2019 Dave Eggers (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"In The Parade, the anxiety grows with every page and every mile to reach an ending that turns everything upside down and sends us into the heart of darkness. A minimalistic, merciless novel. A powerful allegory and a painfully concrete contemporary story - Eggers is a true virtuoso of that synthesis." (Georgi Gospodinov, author of The Physics of Sorrow)

"Eggers...may be the only living American writer for whom the term ‘Hemingway-esque’ meaningfully applies.... Eggers ably weaves in a host of ethical questions over one man's responsibility to the other, what makes help transactional versus simply kind.... An unassuming but deceptively complex morality play, as Eggers distills his ongoing concerns into ever tighter prose." (Kirkus)

"The ever-incisive, worldly-wise, compassionate, and imaginative Eggers maintains the tension of a cocked crossbow in this magnetizing, stealthily wry, and increasingly chilling tale." (Booklist)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Tom
  • 2019-03-25

Another Challenging Eggers Work

Dave Eggers is an enigma. This is the fifth book of his that I have tackled and I’m never sure exactly why I have undertaken it. Not that he’s not a fine writer. He is. But he’s all over the lot. His subject matter ranges from the reaction to the current state of society, as in Zeitoun and The Circle, to fever dreams like Hologram for the King and What is the What.

Maybe that is the attraction. His work shows a deep commitment to what he’s trying to express and he draws you in to follow his struggle. Sometimes he loses me completely but often I really enjoy the trip.

The Parade falls somewhere in the middle. This is a very short book that on the surface deals with an incredibly dull topic: road paving. Two characters are assigned to drive a mechanized paving vehicle connecting two previously hostile Middle Eastern countries. The characters are relatively two-dimensional and there’s little action as we follow their mission. But Eggers’ style creates an atmosphere of dread that mesmerized the reader. You know the story is going somewhere and you will continue the slog.

I won’t give away the rationale of the story except to say that there is one and I felt it was well developed and relevant to today’s culture. As I write this I realize that Parade reminded me a little of Beckett and some of the Absurdist Theatre pieces of the Sixties. Even fifty years later, they still have something to say to us. I only gave the book three stars because of its slow pace and lack of dramatic arc, but I don’t regret spending these few hours inside Eggers’ head. The narration was very well done and in keeping with the style of the writer.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-06-30

Loved it!

I loved everything about this story! Excellent narration. Story was interesting from start to finish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim Downs
  • 2019-07-10

Short, but not sweet

This book was recommended to me by someone that lives in the Horn of Africa because it is a story full of the idiosyncrasies of living in a war-ravaged country. The tech and the mode of working seem far-fetched, and the personalities, a bit extreme. It really tells the story of a single event that could go very bad. It may be helpful to someone working for a large company with vast resources, but for the average cross-cultural worker, there is very little that is relatable. No SAT phones, no guns, no grenades, no back-up. Read it if you find yourself looking for something, otherwise, move closer to the bottom of your reading list.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful