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On Parole (1988)

by Akira Yoshimura

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1488146,603 (3.93)28
After spending sixteen years in prison for a crime of the heart, Shiro Kikutani is released into a world he no longer recognizes. He must readjust to the bright and vigorous stimulus of Tokyo while fending off his own dark memories. In a spare yet powerful style, Akira Yoshimura paints the psychology of a quiet man navigating his way through the unsuspected traumas of freedom-finding a job, finding a home, even something as simple as buying an alarm clock. Kikutani takes comfort in the numbing repetition of his new daily life, only to be drawn inexorably back to the scene of his crime. A subtly powerful story, On Parole explores the fragile life of a murderer and the conditions of freedom in an unforgiving society. Yoshimura's startling novel raises provocative questions of guilt and redemption.… (more)
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English (7)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (8)
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
The story of a guy who did sixteen years in prison and get out to find life has changed. As someone who has worked in the prison system for 6 years the story seems very plausible. I think that Mr Yoshimura must have talked to a few former inmates. ( )
  ISCCSandy | Apr 9, 2019 |
The story of a guy who did sixteen years in prison and get out to find life has changed. As someone who has worked in the prison system for 6 years the story seems very plausible. I think that Mr Yoshimura must have talked to a few former inmates. ( )
  ISCCSandy | Apr 9, 2019 |
Kikutani is a man who has just spent 16 years in prison for the murder of his wife and who has now been released under a provisional parole. This story is of his adjusting to a life he has never experienced, yet needs to survive. Yoshimura, as expected, excels again at describing the main character and his interaction with his environment. Every page is remarkable and brings you along with the story. The steady pace is impeccably well-done to emulate the thoughtfulness and slowness that Kikutani must calculate to yield a successful immersion into society. Additionally, Kikutani's relationship with his two parole officers, Kiyoura and Takebayashi, is something to be envious of. Unfortunately, as is typical with Yoshimura's works, tragedy is afoot and we know how the story must end. ( )
  lilisin | Jul 19, 2014 |
Shiro Kukatani, a high school English teacher, has been released on parole after 15 years in prison. He slowly reacquaints himself with the society he knew prior to his imprisonment. Feeling guilty that, despite his long years of confinement, he feels no remorse for his crime, Kukatani must adapt to living independently again albeit under the supervision of his probation officers.

ON PAROLE is a story unadorned with fluff, moving slowly and simply with words that evoke deep thought and emotions. It examines Kukatani’s feelings of tentativeness as he emerges from prison. Speaking of his attempts to reenter a world beyond prison bars, the reader can feel Kakatani’s yearning to reach back into his former life, the fascination and repulsion of discovering an environment that continued to change despite his stagnant years of imprisonment, and his longing to connect to other people while overpowered by his fear to do so. In essence, the story describes how a parolee’s life can never return to that of the past. The deed that sent Kukatani to prison is not the story, but rather it’s the psychological adaptation of a parolee to what lies beyond the prison’s gate and the question as to whether there is such a thing as true rehabilitation of a criminal. ( )
1 vote SqueakyChu | Jan 12, 2014 |
A good book is one that encourages you to do or be something beyond what you may previously have imagined. It motivates you to become a better person, imparting wisdom and insight through prose and pages that, when done correctly, can last a lifetime.

On the other hand, some books don't so much inspire as make the reader appreciate what they already have, humbling them by presenting them with a character that, for example, may have every basic human liberty stripped away from them. That is exactly what Akira Yoshimura's novel does.

Kikutani committed a horrible crime over 15 years ago, and was given an "indefinite sentence" to prison, which basically means they'll put them in there and maybe let him out eventually if they feel like it. The book begins with the miraculous revelation that Kikutani will be given parole, and will be allowed to live as normally as someone in his circumstance can. He will be ostracized by his hometown, and he will be paranoid that anyone he meets will discover his dark past, but he will be allowed to go and live outside of the cold, dark prison walls that have encapsulated his existence for the past decade-and-a-half.

The most mundane things that just about anyone would take for granted are a source of wonderment for Kikutani. When you are forbidden to get your prison clothes wet, even the simple act of being rained upon during your walk home is an symbol of freedom. When a book can make you appreciate something that would normally be bothersome, I would definitely consider it a successful one.

I won't deny that plot can feel like it's plodding along without direction at times. It is also true that the majority of the novel is about nothing in particular. The bulk of the "story" involves Kikutani doesn't the most ordinary things. But that is exactly why it is so great, because the most common, every-day activities can be so cherished by those among us who have been deprived of them. I'll take that over an exciting plot any day. ( )
3 vote Ape | Jan 5, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Akira Yoshimuraprimary authorall editionscalculated
Snyder, StephenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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The air on his skin was unfamiliar and left him strangely agitated.
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After spending sixteen years in prison for a crime of the heart, Shiro Kikutani is released into a world he no longer recognizes. He must readjust to the bright and vigorous stimulus of Tokyo while fending off his own dark memories. In a spare yet powerful style, Akira Yoshimura paints the psychology of a quiet man navigating his way through the unsuspected traumas of freedom-finding a job, finding a home, even something as simple as buying an alarm clock. Kikutani takes comfort in the numbing repetition of his new daily life, only to be drawn inexorably back to the scene of his crime. A subtly powerful story, On Parole explores the fragile life of a murderer and the conditions of freedom in an unforgiving society. Yoshimura's startling novel raises provocative questions of guilt and redemption.

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