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The last samurai
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Dewitt, Helen

The last samurai

London : Vintage, 2018

621 Visite, 1 Messaggi

For the first 250 pages, I was tempted to throw this book out of the window at least 250 times. It is maddenly frustrating: erratic punctuation, no real introduction to characters or personalities, witty but unconnected repartee, along with pages on end about the grammar of various obscure languages, complex mathematical theories and problems, and abstruse scientific research. The story opens with a young woman who has escaped from small-town America to London, in revolt against social and intellectual conformity and mediocrity, but who finds herself a single mother, with a genius for a son. How to nurture his intellect and mind set against a society that aims for the lowest common denominator and tends to drag everyone down to that level? Called Sibylla (and as reticent as the Cuma prophetess) she ranges from highly intellectual and cultured to scatterbrained and delusional, and is so fixated on Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" that she watches it every day. The boy, a complete misfit when his mother tries to enroll him in school, takes to teaching himself everything under the sun, including a dozen languages, higher mathematics, advanced science, but still worries he is still not up to par. When the boy at last asks about his father, his mother refuses to tell him who it is. Ludo at age 11 (yes, around page 250...) then decides it is up to him alone to find out who is father is, and takes the various Kurosawa samurai as his models, searching out a variety of fascinating people with extraordinary life stories, from all of whom he learns something, until the final epiphany. The hero of the book is no doubt the young Ludo, and if you have somehow survived the first 250 pages, you will follow and cheer him on in the following 250 pages when he finally gets on with his quest.

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