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Lala pipo by Hideo Okuda

Lala pipo

by Hideo Okuda

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366313,489 (3.33)9



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Okuda is a tallented writer, I read this book very quickly, however, I didn't like it. It seemed like Okuda wanted to make the characters as useless as humanly possible, very few are likable. ( )
  ezmerelda | Jul 23, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Worth reading if you are interested in Japanese culture. The author has done a commendable job of creating interesting characters and giving them a lively world to live in. It was fun learning about a lot of cultural norms that I wasn't aware of before, but the overall plot of the book is a little weak. ( )
  timothy.d.reed | Jul 9, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
"He had begun to doubt his connection to the world." And to reconnect, in some way, Keijiro Saigoji has taken to having sex with high school girls. Of course, even though the girls are portrayed as willing participants, provided the money is right, he gets caught up in a club raid, escapes, and finally finds solace only by moving into a tent city for the homeless.

And when I say "provided the money is right," I mean these girls, who appear to be otherwise normal high school kids, are literally prostitutes, which seems to be a relatively normal extracurricular activity for them.

Welcome to the Japan of Hideo Okuda, author of Lala Pipo.

It's not a pleasant place, but one where everyday people, alienated from others by the suffocating rules of modern-day Japan, drift aimlessly downward, desperately attempting to find human contact in via Tokyo's apparently insatiable appetite for depraved sex.

Based on this book, along with another I read recently, Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino, today's Japan must be an awfully bleak place for many people to live.

Every one of the intertwined stories in Lala Pipo involves someone who, on the surface, seems like a "regular" person. But in each case, circumstances, personal and social, have conspired to cut the characters off from what they consider to be "normal" life. Keijiro is an author who won a literary prize with his first book, but has since begun writing "erotica," which pays a lot better. He longs to begin writing literature again, but when he contacts his original, mainstream publisher, the editor is disappointed that Keijiro won't write porn for him, too, because that's all that sells.

Sayuri Tamaki, who transcribes Keijiro's books, spends her spare time picking up men at the library, taking them home and having sex with them. While she secretly records it and sells the DVDs to a local porn shop, where the movies are bestsellers. The proprietor is the only person she knows who puts any value on her life.

Yoshie Sato is middle-aged housewife who eagerly takes up acting in pornographic movies as she seeks to repress a secret I won't give away here.

And on and on it goes, a Zola-esque nightmare of people abusing each other without even getting the minor benefit of feeling good about the abuse they dish out.

Of course, I love Zola, so I also loved this book and highly recommend it. Okuda even manages to shine some rays of light, which, again, I don't want to give away here, except to explain the title.

"Lala Pipo" is what Saruyi mis-hears an Anglo say to her in English in a crowd … he means "a lot of people," describing the crowded streets and sidewalks of Tokyo. Indeed, she realizes, "Whether it brings you laughter or tears, life goes on," both for her and for the "lot of people" in Japan, and the world.

Two final notes: Perusing the publishing info, I can see the book was published in Japan as "Rarapipo."

And the cover, by famed cover artist Chip Kidd, is really unrelated to the tone of the book. ( )
2 vote KromesTomes | Sep 21, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Lala Pipo is a very dirty book. It's got a strange fascination with the entanglement of ordinary people and extraordinarily perverted sex. But Lala Pipo isn't a pornographic book per se, it's intent is more to explore than excite. Told in a series of interweaving stories Lala Pipo follows several very lonely people as they try to connect to the world around them. Their intersection with others often happens sexually and almost always has an unhappy ending.

Author Hideo Okuda does a fantastic job of weaving these short stories into a cohesive whole. Rather than a book of six short stories Lala Pipo is a complete novel where each character gets their own complete storyline and several events are seen from more than one perspective.

If you're easily offended by sexuality then obviously Lala Pipo won't be for you, but for people who think literature shouldn't shy away from dealing with the sexual relationships between people Lala Pipo is worth checking out. I found it to be a well written, engaging and entertaining book. ( )
  gkleinman | Sep 9, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I don't know that I enjoyed this book, but everything about it evoked a sense of detached-ness, aloneness, hopelessness. The writing, the vocabulary, the vulgar-ness, the characters, what they do and then what happens to them, all has a sort of deadness. A sort of Japanese Gen X-ness, that I have seen and felt when reading other Japanese authors. It seems to be a theme in Japanese writing. And I find it very interesting.
The title "Lala Pipo" is something said in passing by a Westerner. I think the only Westerner in the book. I wont give anything away (hate when people do that), but that resonated with me. I didn't care about the characters, but the author seemed to want that.
But when the woman bumped into the Westerner on the street, their brief exchange pulled at my soul. The easy, western way of making (idle)conversation, a quick, unimportant, and casual, (I imagine, to the man) connection, and the intense reaction that it gets on a Tokyo street. That's more what the book was about to me. Living your life as a ghost, or a sleepwalker, the living dead. And brief glimpses of light that could be acted upon, but are just watched as though they were on a movie screen.
Indeed, the only character that finds happiness, is a man who strips down to nothing and lives as a homeless person. ( )
  ZephyrsPawn | Sep 4, 2008 |
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As he did every night, thirty-two-year-old Hiroshi Sugiyama, freelance writer, sat at his computer writing a magazine article.
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From the award-winning author of 'The Flying Trapeze' comes a tragic-comic tapestry of absurdity, filled with a cast of sleazy characters. These six inter-related chapters deal with themes of desire, inadequacy and failure, using the underbelly of sex as a canvas.… (more)

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