The Last Samurai
Just re-read after 10 years after really enjoying DeWitt's very different second novel, Lightning Rods, which just came out. In the past decade I've crammed in a few hundred novels, a few hundred pages of my own writing, and an MFA etc. And it's still one of ...more
Six stars! Seven stars! Hell, a herd of stars. We’re givin’ em away (liberated and reworked from The Tubes’ White Punks on Dope).
Finding exactly the right book at exactly the right time doesn’t happen very often. Finding exactly the right book at all doesn’t happen often enough. This one found its way to me through the oddest of circumstances—via Lee (his review), clumsy fingers, and time at the deathbed of my mother—it is what it is.
I follow Lee’s reviews and checked out the one for The Last Sa...more
The story begins with a mother, Sibylla. She lives a life burdened with high expectations and doubly burdened when she cannot reach up to them. Her father was an atheist who went to a ninth-rate seminary to please his father a ...more
Books like The Last Samurai don’t come my way very often whic ...more
I'm stuck in a rut myself. I've been doing this for too long. I keep telling myself I should bite the bullet... and make a comeback. What's the use of spending my life in this room? What's the use of me sitting in front of this blank screen trying to achieve some undefined ideal ...more
Dewitt's book rambles on and on, ski ...more
I sometimes feel depressed. Don't we all? In my line of work, I often come across people who feel depressed. And I think, well, I have no degree in psychology. I'm certainly not qualified. But then I also think, what the hell? Sometimes people just simply need to know that someone is listening. So I try to listen. But I'm not always so good at getting peopl ...more
One of my favorite books ever. I don't know is how time will affect my opinion of it, but I think it could last.
It's a novel about the normal and the eccentric, about learning, about languages, music, art, and Kurosawa. It's about the shape of brilliance. It doesn't sacrifice philosophy or intellectualism for narrative power or vice versa. Each smaller narrative wound into the whole is like story-candy. There is nothing to dislike: the style, the form, the content, the mood, the cha ...more
It's easy to get off of "death of this-or-that" re fiction, or really any art form, because art of course moves quickly. After writing that screed I just wrote about Palahniuk, I for a moment felt disillusioned with the state of the contemporary novel. It was my belief that, because of the immense acclaim the E ...more
1 star because her prose is clunky ("He said:... I said:... He said:...") and banal ("The wind is howling. A cold rain is falling.") Because her experiments with form are juvenile and obnoxious. Above all, because it's the type of book that wants to entrench itself against criticism (well of course the prose and form are that way because that's the type of people these characters are!), rather than simply being a better book.
5 star because o ...more
plus, it's the first fiction by a woman since ayn rand that i loved (don't hold that against me. it's like mandatory for nerdy teenage boys, isn't it?). that's a 14-year drought! and lord knows i tried.
i don't understand why some novels about ordinary people struggling with ordinary crap are considered worthwhile. what do i ...more
"A good samurai will parry the blow..."
After thinking about it last night and this morning, this was such a magnificent novel. One major topic I can't stop thinking about is Ludo's growth throughout the novel. At first he is just a "robotic" child(did ...more
interruption by another character
continuing where it left of in mid sentence or even mid wor
d which can get a bit irritating actually. It is also funny particularly in the first half ...more
I make it a rule not to read my book jackets until I'm done with the book. I only read books based on whim or recommendation and this one came from a dear friend and another mega-reader. Upon finishing the book, I read the jacket and there were two words that pretty ...more
-Contains one of the great piano recital scenes in all literature (alongside Berthe Trepat's concert in 'Hopscotch')
-Doesn't go as deep into Kurosawa's 'The Seven Samurai' as I expected, but still makes a great double bill after reading the novel
-Doesn't feel nearly as long as its daunting 500+ page count due to numerous short sections, blank spaces, and of course engaging ...more
This wasn't an easy book to get into. I started it during a particularly busy time - moving to a new place, working longer hours at work ...more
The book is simply incoherent and thereby unreadable as any type of narrative.
I went to the party. As so often it was much easier to come with the plan of leaving after 10 minutes than to leave after 10 minutes, for instead of making a polite excuse to leave after 10 minutes I found myself describing now t ...more
This book is too short, and I need to digest it.
This book is too short, and the time needed to digest it is long.
This short book is too good, and I will digest it a long time.
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I suppose the most basic reason for liking this book is that it's full of intelligent heart and charm. I was consumed. The fictive became real, and I inhabited this world. It is not the arduous challenge it is made out to be. It is a pleasure to read and think about. Dewitt is marvelous--cry ...more
Anyway: The Last Samurai. It's an imperfect, magnificent enigma. A page-turner with no plot, a structural experiment, hilarious, argumentative, digressive, satisfying without offering resolution. Do what you need to and get your hands on a copy.
Then f ...more
This is the story of the education of the boy-genius Ludo aka Stephen aka David, language and mathe ...more
DeWitt grew up primarily in South America (Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador), as her parents worked in the United States diplomatic service. After a year at Northfield Mount Hermon School and two short periods at Smith College, DeWitt studied classics at the University of Oxford, first at Lady Margare ...more