Sugaru Miaki really knows how to write gripping stories of love and hopelessness. If the book would have been just that, it would have been perfect to me, but it introduces medical/supernatural elements that I found overly complex and unconvincing.
This is only the second book I read by Sugaru Miaki, but I can already say that he has a very distinctive style and tone. I really love the atmosphere of his novels, even though I find them a little too depressing for a relaxing read.
In the postface of 『いたいのいたいの、とんでゆけ』, Miaki said that he likes writing about 落とし穴の中で幸せそうにしている物語, and I think that this applies to this novel as well.
I loved the first half of the novel. Our two protagonists have each their problems that prevent them from having even the most basic form of social life. The description of how they meet, get along with each other and try to overcome their difficulties was really good, and I could have read hundreds of pages of it. I really love how Miaki describes this kind of relationship, and even though this is not my usual read, I enjoyed the first half of the book very much.
However, I did not like the mechanism behind the story. If it were simply the story of two loners who try to help each other, I would have loved the novel until the end. But there is much more to it, with some supernatural elements, and unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. These elements include medical conditions and parasites, and while it gives an interesting and unique flavour to the love story, I also found that it was unnecessarily complex and unconvincing.
In the end, I think that I loved Miaki’s other novel, 『いたいのいたいの、とんでゆけ』, because it contains topics like murder and vengeance, so while it was a love story, the novel also lined up with my personal taste in fiction. On the contrary, I am not a fan of SF or magical realism, so 『恋する寄生虫』 was much less engrossing to me.
To sum up, I think that 『恋する寄生虫』 is a great book, and it was simply not for me. I would have loved it if it was simpler and more realistic, because I do enjoy Miaki’s writing very much. All the parts on the parasites thing and how it affects our protagonists left me perplexed and I started losing interest for the story at some point.