Book Buzz: The Night Parade

The Night Parade: A Speculative Memoir by Jami Nakamura Lin

“Maybe this isn’t a story about ghosts, but a story about telling a story about ghosts.” 

This genre-defying memoir uses multiple storytelling traditions to make sense of mental illness, motherhood, and grief. Jami Nakamura Lin, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at seventeen, has always struggled with the more mysterious and chaotic parts of herself. While researching Japanese folktales for her novel, she finds herself reflected in stories about the yokai: supernatural beings that can be described as ghosts, spirits, or demons. 

Inspired by the myth called the Night Parade of the Hundred Demons, Lin dedicates each chapter to a different yokai, all illustrated in expressive watercolor by her sister. During an emotionally intense time when her father is dying of cancer and she is trying to have a baby, Lin feels comforted by the yokai’s otherworldly grief and rage.  

Like the folktales she studies, The Night Parade contains multitudes. At turns scholarly, contemplative, and emotionally gutting, Jami Nakamura Lin teaches us to never stop telling ghost stories.  

Reviewed by Emma Radosevich, collection development librarian, Whatcom County Library System

(Originally published in Bellingham Alive April 2024 issue.)