Six characters in search of a life
By Hideo Okuda
Fiction / Literary
Paperback, 288 pages, 5.5 x 8.25 inches
U.S.$14.95 / CAN$16.95
“This sleazy novel is not recommendable for ladies or gentlemen.”
So reads the jacket of the Japanese edition of this collection of six dark, interrelated, tragicomic chapters dealing with themes of desire, inadequacy, and failure, using the underbelly of sex as its canvas. As misheard by one of the characters, “a lot of people,” is “Lala Pipo.”
Lala Pipo is an ingenius tapestry of absurdity, whose cast of unlikable characters cross the line of good taste that even those who have crossed the line cannot help but notice. Each act pushes the envelope past the one preceding it. It’s like an episode of Seinfeld directed by Bob Guccione, all the story elements cleverly weaving together, taking the reader from shock to gut-busting hilarity with each tale. The main difference: these losers are X-rated.
Lala Pipo was made into a feature film released in Japan in 2009.
“Lala Pipo deftly mixes satire with farce, comedy with tragedy, and eroticism with social commentary. At times, the book reads like a fusion of The Usual Suspects and Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s “In a Grove”… The subject matter is not used for titillation and is not pornography, per se. Hideo Okuda gives us a fresh approach to the sleazy side of Tokyo, showing us the seedy parts of Shibuya beyond the shopping centers. Lala Pipo is a well-written, humorous and timely book.”
—The Japan Times
“These human monsters, it turns out, could be as American as you or I, and their secret lives look distressingly familiar. Okuda successfully taps into the creep inside us all.”
—The Stranger (Seattle)
“For this sort of thing, really quite good.”
—The Complete Review
Hideo Okuda was born in 1959. His first novel was published in 1998 after he worked as a magazine editor, planner, and copywriter. He is now one of the most popular author of entertainment novels in Japan, known for his comical portrayals of people at all levels of society.
In 2002, he won the Oyabu Haruhiko Award for hardboiled and adventure novels for JAMA (“Annoyance”), and in 2004, he won the Naoki Award (Japanese equivalent of the National Book Award) for Kuchu Buranko (“The Flying Trapeze”).