Candy Wood's Reviews > The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt
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's review
Apr 10, 2012

Read from March 30 to April 09, 2012

If I had actually ever seen The Seven Samurai, I might have enjoyed this book even more. As it is, I'm glad Peter Ackroyd's mention of it in his book about London under the streets prompted me to read it. The Circle Line and various galleries are settings where the first narrator, an American named Sibylla, can keep herself and her small son warm because she doesn't make enough from typing to pay for heating their house all day. He, Ludo, is reading the Odyssey in Greek, at age four, and interrupts her with questions. By age eleven, he has taken over the narrative and begun a "who's your daddy?" quest, except that he finds his real father first, is disappointed (Sibylla did have the baby on her own rather than tell the father, after all), then keeps trying. The musical concept of theme and variations runs all through the novel, which has passages in Greek and Japanese, not to mention aerodynamics and astronomy, and is immensely entertaining.

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