The Epic Novel of Japan

Book - 2009
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A narrative of conflicting cultures, loyalties, motivations, and traditions in early-seventeenth-century Japan, involving the powerful and powerhungry Lord Toranaga, the ambitious Englishman, Blackthorne, and the Lady Mariko, a Catholic convert in love with the barbarian Englishman.
Publisher: New York :, Delta Trade Paperbacks,, 2009.
Edition: Delta trade pbk. ed.
ISBN: 9780385343244
Branch Call Number: FICTION Clavell James
Characteristics: 998 pages ;,23 cm


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Jul 12, 2017

Very good read, would recommend it to anyone with an interest in Japanese culture. Kind of sad that with all that page time, the ending was kind of lackluster

Dec 17, 2016

Clavell is the best - maybe because he only wrote 6 books total between 1974 and 1997. Always great stories, rich in imagery, exciting and well researched (as novels go). Too bad we lost such a great author after only six titles. This was a reread for me as I have been revisiting book I read many years ago that stuck with me. If you liked Clavell's Japan focused novels, you might want to take a look also at Laura Joh Rowland's work.

Jun 14, 2015

First novel in Clavell's "Asian Saga" series.

melrub480v Jul 20, 2014

Love this novel. It made me want to learn about the Japanese culture and history.

Oct 07, 2013

I also have read this book many times.

It is an epic story with all the great elements of fiction - adventure, intrigue, romance, well-developed characters, and great description.

Clavell nicely ties this with historical truth as well and lays the groundwork for his successive novels.

Highly recommended.

Sep 07, 2011

I have read this book twice and will read it again someday. One of my all time favourite books, well worth the time and effort; James Clavell is a master story teller; he spends an entire book setting the reader up and does a number on you in the last paragraph. Senior Doctor-at-Bass! D. A.

There is an inaccuracy. He mentions Judo but in the time period he writes in is medieval Japan. Judo wasn't invented until 1882.

Nov 25, 2010

Excellent book, and an epic tale. A great read for anybody interested in Japan; with great characters and an intricate plot. A must read

Jun 07, 2010

The coolest thing about this book is that, without perceptible degrees, the reader becomes so immersed in the medieval Japanese mindset that by the end of the book one will understand the samurai ethos. At the beginning of the book the warrior class is presented to the protagonist as crazy fanatics, and the ultimate sacrifice - hara kiri or seppuku (spelling?) - is incomprehensible. How could someone commit suicide for an abstract sense of duty? To prove a point? To accomplish a goal? It seems insane. In Western culture, self-destruction is treated as mental illness or as an onerous act that would only be taken in order to save others, eg. diving on the grenade to save the squad or staying in a burning bus in order to throw a child out. We make suicides into martyrs; the only trade that could justify such a cost, we believe, is the redemption or salvation of entire civilizations. Even in such a case, we treat death as a horror.

For the samurai, death is a very different thing. They really were not afraid of it; the perfection of a samurai in life comes from their willingness to accept, even to embrace and bring about, death. It's a strange paradox, born of an ephemeral and highly-sophisticated society.

By the end, you understand the values that make institutionalized suicide possible. That's pretty amazing.

Sep 25, 2009

This book has everything; samurais, ninjas, geisha, action, court intrigue, and even romance.

One of the best fictional portraits of medieval Japan I've ever read.

Highly recommended!

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Violence: It's a given. Swords fight etc.

Sexual Content: Briefly mentioned.


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