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The Parade

A Novel
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 3 hrs and 43 mins
4 out of 5 stars (22 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

Critic Reviews

"[Narrator Dion] Graham delivers outstanding voicework that captures the two characters' personalities.... The contrast between them, especially Four's increasing exasperation with Nine, borders on black comedy. But Graham keeps a balanced tone that maintains the story's tension and doesn't undercut its themes." (AudioFile)

"This is a tale for our time, an allegory about intervening in foreign lands without knowledge, and so a nightmare vision of our endless wars." (Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco and Churchill and Orwell

"A parable of progress, as told by J.M. Coetzee to Philip K. Dick." (Richard Flanagan, author of Gould’s Book of Fish and The Narrow Road to the Deep North)

"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)  

"The Parade is a heartbreaker and a mindbender. It is a novel of ideas that packs an emotional punch that left me reeling. With clear, unadorned prose, Eggers lays bare the costs of war, and of peace." (Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage

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  • Tom
  • Warm Springs, Georgia
  • 03-25-19

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful