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The Last Concubine

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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  1,847 ratings  ·  128 reviews
How do you fall in love when your society has no word for it? "The Last Concubine" is an epic love story closely based on historical events, chronicling 19th century Japan's extraordinary change from a medieval to a modern country. This is the story of a shogun, a princess and the three thousand women of the women's palace - all of whom really existed - and of the civil wa ...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published February 11th 2008 by Bantam Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Hasna Diana
The Last Concubine, yang dalam bahasa Indonesia berarti Selir Terakhir, adalah sebuah epic love-story, kisah cinta seorang gadis muda Jepang yang harus menerima takdirnya menjadi selir seorang shogun, bertepatan dengan peristiwa runtuhnya kekuasaan Keshogunan Tokugawa, pada tahun 1800-an. Membaca buku ini, membawa kita kembali ke era Edo, zaman kuno Jepang yang luar biasa, penuh keajaiban yang membuat takjub, yang segera akan menghilang bersamaan dengan Jepang yang membuka dirinya terhadap Barat ...more
Daniel
Writing this comment is probably going to more worthwhile than reading this book. For a 500 page book it's at least 501 pages too long. I should have known when my flatmate said she only has "girls book" that I shouldn't have read it. That was the first of many, many red flags to come. A beautiful girl in a small shitty town (red flag) in old Japan is spotted by the Princess (Red flag) to come back to Edo Castle (red flag) and live with the other 3000 women there (red flag). She spends her days ...more
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
I read many favourable reviews about this book,and many of them were gushing with praise for it. A Japanese “Gone with the wind” With a gorgeous cover. Can you imagine I was so eager to get this book in my hands?

The plot boils down to this: Sachi is a peasant girl who is adopted by a princess.The princess is going to be the shoguns wife. Sachi grows up in the Edo castle and learns the strict protocol of the castle and using a halberd. The heroine becomes noticed by the shogun and becomes his co
...more
Joana M
É um livro muito bonito. Um livro sobre amor numa sociedade em que não existe uma palavra para designar "amor". Fala sobre a mudança do Japão no século XIX, que deixou de ser um país medieval e passou a ser um país moderno. É um livro sobre honra, respeito e lealdade valores que estão, profundamente, entranhados naquelas pessoas. É nos apresentada uma sociedade em que os homens julgam que sentirem algo por uma mulher faz deles menos homens, ou seja, mulheres. Aqui as mulheres acham estranho que ...more
Jarka
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tricia
I wanted to give three stars (or even more) to this novel but halfway through it turned so hard for me to keep reading that I can’t do it. It started pretty well, with pages full of delicate nature metaphors and descriptions about places that quickly dragged me into it -plus Sachi’s observations (naïve at first, more mature while growing) were mainly credible and interesting ‘til certain point-, but suddenly, after reading quite a lot, I found myself having trouble comprehending the biggest role ...more
Endah
Selir adalah sebuah kata yang lekat dengan kekuasaan sekaligus, mungkin, penderitaan. Kekuasaan karena praktik ini pada zaman dahulu sampai dengan hari ini berlangsung di balik istana raja-raja atau para lelaki penguasa. Penderitaan karena saya hampir yakin seratus persen tak ada selir yang benar-benar merasa bahagia dengan statusnya. Ia akan selalu jadi yang nomor dua atau dua ratus. Hak-haknya sebagai “istri” tidak sama dengan permaisuri (istri pertama). Jika mereka punya anak, hak anak-anakny ...more
Jose
Was disappointed with this book. The main problem was the blurb on the back - it gives you the entire tale bar the last chapter or so (and even that wasn't too hard to guess). The implication of the blurb is that girl meets boy fairly quickly and once you realise that's not the case it's very hard to continue. It takes the entire book for the main character to meet her 'true' love, by which time she's been painted as a sap without much of a backbone. If it hadn't been for my love of all things J ...more
Caledonia
While Japan is teetering on the edge of civil war, Sachi becomes concubine to the last shogun of Edo (Tokyo) but her life is soon to change when the old ways are swept away forever. Sachi flees from the castle where she has lived a pampered life and finds herself on the run with her trusted friend Taki. As traditional values break down, the roads are a treacherous place to be and Sachi soon finds herself in danger. She is rescued by a young ronin warrior with whom she soon falls in love but the ...more
The Basic Bookworm
At the age of fifteen, Sachi — an adopted daughter of the village’s headman — is chosen by the princess to accompany her in the women’s palace in Edo. The palace is home to three thousand women and one man — the shogun. It is there where Sachi finds herself surrounded by deception and jealous rivalries. These issues are heightened when the princess chooses Sachi to become the shogun’s concubine. After a series of disasters, including an outburst of civil war, Sachi and her friends are forced to ...more
Catherine
I had high hopes for this book, I didn't expect a life changing experience but I expected a good easy read with a good plot. For me this book started well and I enjoyed the path it was taking, some parts a bit predictable. The story built up and I was waiting for the the exciting aspects to really begin and it did start to build. Then we have all the information we need to start leading us to the conclusion but it keeps going, I started to get a bit bored and felt like it was becoming difficult ...more
Laura
I was just browsing through the library scanning book titles when this caught my eye. At first I have to admit I judged it on it's cover and title but when I finished I realized that I had just randomly stumbled upon one of the best written books I have ever read. It so well describes the ways of Japan in that time period and I'm going to read it again.
Daniela
looks like i've come to enjoy narratives about remote locations and cultural beliefs and practices so divergent with the common pool of Euro-American resources
Melo
Me encantó!
Un perfecto retrato de Japón en la epoca de los Samurais, Geishas, Concubinas...
Sencillamente genial!
Siv30
הוצאת מודן, תרגמה מאנגלית: דורית בריל-פולק, עיצוב עטיפה: עדה ורדי, 490 עמודים.

בשנת 1600 הסתיים אחד הקרבות הגדולים בתולדות יפן. קרב סקיגאהרה הוכרע ע"י משפחת טוקוגאווה. הניצחון, ככל ניצחון במלחמה, לא השיג שלום מידי אלא שלום שנסמך על פילוג המשמר סטטוס קוו בין מנצחים למפסידים. מפסידים שחולמים יום אחד להכריע את הקרב בצורה אחרת.


בשנת 1603, מונה ע"י הקיסר, אייאסו מבית טוקוגאווה לשוגון. אייאסו העביר את שלטונו לכפר דייגים קטן שנקרא אדו, מאוחר יותר יהיה שמו של הכפר טוקיו.

בעקבות מרד שימאבארה, השוגונות לבית
...more
Zvi Jonathan
A very engrossing novel. Set in 1860s Japan during the time of the Meiji Restoration and the years leading up to it.
Sachi grows up in a mountain village rural Japan. Her pale skin and fine features have always set her apart and made her feel different. At the age of eleven, the procession of the Imperial Princess sweeps up her up from her home to the woman's palace at the Imperial capital of Edo, where she is before too long, chosen as the concubine of the young Shogun after he sees and her and
...more
Natalie
Pretty great so far! I'm about halfway through the book and there isn't as much character development as the back of the book promises, it's mostly about a naive village girl chosen to go to the palace because the princess thinks she has a great destiny that is outside of the village. She is chosen to be the shogun's concubine and falls in love with first the shogun, then has to grow up really quickly (but this isn't very believably written about for some reason), and then develops feeling for a ...more
Sabrina Zee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kavita
I had only read Lesley Downer's non fiction books before, and I loved those. This book is fictional and follows the journey of Sachi from her childhood as a young peasant girl to her life as a concubine of the Tokugawa Shogun. There are many twists and turns in her life and the events depicted in the background are for the most part accurate.

The characters are well thought out, but the plots seem unrealistic to be set in 1860s Japan. The ending seemed very forced, and imo, ought to have ended in
...more
Juliana
I think that this is a wonderful book and Im happy because I had the oportunity to read it. Is an amazing story with a lot of real history, not only fiction. Actually, there is more reality than fiction.I get amazed about how was the Japanese culture and what happened to it. The writter had the talent to tell the history with the enough emotion and magic to make us think that we were remembering something of our past. Is a book that I completely recomend for all those people that like history an ...more
A. E. S.
This book was very "whimsical" in a sort of sense, although it had its problems. I feel like the book could have been reduced in length by 50%, and although the action scenes were good they seemed stilted and redundant, trying "too hard" to leave the reader in suspense. Nearly three-quarters of the novel is about this woman travelling - which is very tiring at times.

The way Downer wrote this book seems to drone on and on. Her writing could be tighter and more to the point. I do appreciate the im
...more
BoekenTrol
http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/8...

This book lived up to almost all expectations the title woke with me. It is the story of the life of a young village girl that is taken to the palace of the shogun by his young wife. When the shogun dies, her story continues, although it is completely upside down because of all the political upheaval that was going on in Japan around the 1850's.

I loved reading this book. I am already interested in 'the east', meaning that I know a tiny bit about ronin, sam
...more
Sandy
Completely captivating. This book has now become one of my favourites. The setting, the characters, the story - based around real events, but fictional - is excellently written, and completely absorbing.

I was completely drawn in to the life of Sachi, devouring page after page, unable to put it down. Having a love for Japan, especially geisha, I have read previous work by Lesley Downer, and I was immediately interested in this book. I was a little intimidated though; to be honest, I've never been
...more
Maria
En las montañas del Japón rural de 1861, la piel pálida y las delicadas facciones de Sachi hacen que se sienta diferente. Y lo es. Cuando cumple once años, una princesa imperial se la lleva al palacio de las mujeres del castillo de Edo. Allí, en un ambiente de intrigas y rivalidades, conviven tres mil mujeres y el joven shogun, gobernador de Japón. Sachi será la elegida para convertirse en su concubina. Sus privilegios, sin embargo, pronto son sólo un recuerdo, ya que al estallar la guerra civil ...more
Uci
"Paaaaanjang dan laaaaama," begitulah yang saya rasakan saat membaca buku ini. Jepang pada masa kekuasaan Shogun memang menarik untuk dijadikan cerita, dengan intrik-intrik 'gila' di istana perempuan, para samurai dan ronin yang gagah, serta prinsip-prinsip kehidupan yang mungkin sulit untuk dicerna akal sehat, misalnya menganggap orang-orang di luar istana sebagai binatang.

Tapi, berbeda dengan Musashi yang juga tebal dan menceritakan berbagai hal secara mendetail, saya tidak menemukan greget ya
...more
Wicaksono Wicaksono
I'm still dive in to the deep of this book. Let me dive, and flying in the fresh water of this words of this book.

Ramuan kompleks sebuah labirin yang berbumbu intrik cinta, persaingan politik, perebutan kekuasan, kepahlawanan, nasionalisme yang boleh jadi polos, serta romantika psikologis seorang wanita yang menjadi istri selir menyatu padu dalam cerita yang mengalir pada novel ini.

Awal novel ini memang seperti dongeng purba yang sering diangkat dalam fiksi-fiksi tentang lelaki penguasa dan wan
...more
Asriani
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Giovanna Santoriello
Ho cominciato la lettura di questo libro mesi fa, durante un lungo viaggio in treno. Il tempo è praticamente volato. Sia all'andata che al ritorno. Purtroppo per me non sono riuscita a finirlo durante quel viaggio, e nel frattempo mi sono dedicata ad altre letture. Ieri l'ho ripreso dal comodino. Ho letto le ultime 100 pagine e adesso posso finalmente recensirvelo.
Il libro è bello.
Non so se sono di parte, perchè io adoro tutti i libri che parlano del Giappone. Questo in particolar modo narra d
...more
Glynis Smy
Sachi, an adopted village girl of great beauty, is chosen to become a concubine for a prince. War erupts and he dies. Sachi remains as a companion to his wife. As war rages and the palace is threatened, the princess sets Sachi out into the world as a decoy, to impersonate the princess herself. Along the way challenges and life threatening events happen. One soldier takes Sachi and her companion under his wings, and eventually they are able to return to the palace. Life is no longer the same and ...more
Iset

I feel so-so about The Last Concubine. It was alright, but it just didn’t grab me. It’s competently written, but it seemed to lack flair or any real imagination. It was only sporadically evocative, and I didn’t get any sense of atmosphere or ambience to draw me into the historical setting.

The plot was well-constructed, and it wasn’t predictable at least, but it wasn’t amazing or awe-inspiring or gripping. The same thing for the characters. They were… there. I didn’t dislike them, but I don’t fee
...more
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