“Everything burns to ashes. Lives out by whatever machinery, whatever injustice, then burns down to the very surface that held it up.”

—Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, Fra Keeler


“You know what kind of plan never fails? No plan. No plan at all. You know why? Because life cannot be planned.”

—Ki-taek, Parasite


To label Parasite as a movie about class warfare would only address it on the surface level. To call Fra Keeler another “unreliable narrator” novel would also be shortsided. These two are exercises in syllogisms and ontological philosophies. They are truly singular works that defy recognition. 

The depth of this pairing lies in what we are
not told. 

I always formulate some kind of opinion, some half-cocked analysis, some inane commentary after finishing books and movies. But these two left me bewildered. I thought the effect would wear off. It hasn’t. Both of these are impossible to describe, and yet here I am. I’m hoping, still, to make sense of the art I’ve consumed.

How very Gestalt, to develop understanding by placing them together. Here goes nothin’. 

This novel and book explore:

  • Infiltrating the houses of others
  • A life expanding its presence after death
  • Escalation mixed with disorientation
  • Personal identity reflected in home interiors
  • How one determines to let someone in, literally and figuratively
  • Obsession/repulsion with the ordinary
  • Solid objects as catalysts for erratic decisions
  • Failing to differentiate self from not-self, reality from fantasy
  • The danger in both paranoia and its complete absence
  • Blame-shifting building into contempt


You see how vast the disparity of the same view from an alternate perspective can be. And maybe you also experience a glimpse of dementia. 

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi writes, “You love someone one moment, I thought, and the next they render themselves suspect.” Parasite seems to echo that sentiment. But looking again, perhaps they’re really suggesting that problems stem from dubious assumptions in the eye of the beholder. Maybe instead of watching our back we need to roll our eyes back into our heads. However taxing that endeavor may be.