Parasites Like Us


This story begins some years after the turn of the millenium, back when gangs were persecuted, back before we all joined one.

I’ve started reading Parasites Like Us, a recent addition to the Singapore National Library (despite being published in 2004). It’s quite hard work – I’m not sure if that’s because I’m tired, or because it’s so densely written – there’s lots and lots of foreshadowing in the first hundred pages, references to things we don’t know yet that may turn out, and it’s also just one of those books that feels like the literary equivalent of eating an entire Christmas pudding on your own. (See the first sentence of the book above this, as an example of how it starts, and means to go on.)

From the first hundred pages we have:

A protagonist who’s a bit hard to like: an anthropology professor at a South Dakota university whose best days are behind him, who’s not good at picking people up at social mixers.

His father, who seems banally awful up to now.

An old family friend with some hinted at history.

Two research students, one with other family issues, the other totally opaque.

The death of a beloved pig.

… and an ancient body, buried outside an Indian casino.

The blurb promises apocalypse. 250 odd (and I think they will be very odd) pages to go.

Oh, and Amazon.co.uk classifies it as Women’s Fiction. Do only women want to read books about anthropologists who drive Corvettes? I’m wondering if I’m really ignorant about something.


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