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Shogun: A Novel of Japan af Clavell James

Shogun: A Novel of Japan (original 1975; udgave 1980)

af Clavell James (Forfatter)

Serier: The Asian Saga (1.1)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
445843,944 (4.34)1
Titel:Shogun: A Novel of Japan
Forfattere:Clavell James (Forfatter)
Info:A DELL BOOK (1980), Edition: 2nd
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

Work Information

Sh¯ogun / 1. bog af James Clavell (1975)


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Engelsk (7)  Fransk (1)  Alle sprog (8)
Viser 1-5 af 8 (næste | vis alle)
Long but amazing...Blackthorne forever.

"One thing is certain: the barbarian will never leave. Neither alive nor dead. He is part of the realm forever."

"Isn't man but a blossom taken by wind, and only the mountains and the sea and the stars and this land of the gods everlasting?" ( )
  ReneeNL | Jun 29, 2020 |
I have only read one other James Clavell novel, Tai-Pan. Comparing the two, I believe Tai-Pan has a stronger, cleaner storyline. But overall Shogun is the greater of the two works. And dare I say it? I also believe James Clavell to be more than a mere writer of fiction; these two books to me qualify as literature.

Both Tai-Pan and Shogun present themselves as novels of epic events. And they are. But the epic sweep of the setting is deceiving. Tai-Pan, for example, mainly moves back and forth between Hong Kong, Macau, and Canton. Only a trip of 30-40 miles. But the three locations are entirely different worlds, ruled and populated by drastically different peoples and even cultures. Shogun, meanwhile, goes back and forth between Yedo and Osaka, a trip of only a few hundred miles. But each trip seems like a long journey through unknown lands and seas. Then, the trips and voyages become secondary, as Clavell moves into his subjects like a movie camera zooming in for a close-up. The casual reader will never notice, so smooth is the transition. And, in fact, the individual worlds that open up are grander, more varied and spectacle filled than the temporal world through which each travels.

The land journey to Osaka is the centerpoint of the novel. In some ways, it is almost like a retelling of The Canterbury Tales displaced into medieval Japan. In the caravan, a seaman, a lady of the high court, a courtesan and her madam, a warrior, a failed Catholic clergyman, and a noble and his nephew all have their stories told while on a "pilgrimage" to honor the emperor (and thus become captive) in Osaka castle. Each story reveals a person trapped by their own desires: Blackthorne bound to his enmity towards the Jesuits and their Portuguese allies and to his love for the Lady Mariko; Mariko herself tied to her duty to avenge her family and follow the orders of her liege; Gyoko the madam who seeks riches and social advancement; Yabu, the lord, who plots endlessly to enlarge his fiefdom; and Buntaro, Mariko's humiliated husband who despises foreigners and has fallen prey to the whims of his wife who has rejected him. Looming behind them all is the Toranago, the feudal lord secretly lusting to establish his own shogunate.

Clavell is deft at moving among these characters, highlighting the conflicts while demonstrating their less obvious mutual respect for each other. Indeed, Shogun often demonstrates how enemies are not only destined to become friends or allies but how their opposing personal qualities essentially pair them together. The greatest example is the mutual hostility and attraction between Toranaga and his rival for ultimate power, the Lady Ochiba.

A few other themes carry over between Shogun and Tai-Pan. There is the hostility of the Catholic Church and its rigid dogma towards the Protestant English and their laissez faire attitude not only to trade but to free thought. There is the romance between strong, intellectually endowed Asian women and self-made Englishmen. But there is most obviously the contrast between Asian and European customs, almost always to the disadvantage of European ways.

Nowhere is this more clear than on the issue of personal hygiene, which Clavell almost obsesses on in both novels. The cleanliness and healthiness of China/Japan as opposed to the stink, rancidness, filth, and diseased ways of Britain and Europe. And, to be honest, Clavell is not too far amiss in his critique--not even into the current time. One of the first things apparent to residents of Asia (myself included) is the apparent lingering dislike of Europeans for soap and bathing. (This is not so much a problem with North Americans coming to Asia.) It is something that becomes most obvious during the hot humid days of Southeast Asia, especially in confined spaces teeming with people. Clavell really got it dead-on, here. ( )
  PaulCornelius | Apr 12, 2020 |
An absolutely stunning tale of Japan during the era of the samurai, and before Tokugawa (Toranaga in the book) became Shogun of the famous Tokugawa shogunate, the last Japanese military government. ( )
  book_lady15 | Apr 3, 2020 |
What an epic! Fabulous book. 50 hrs of listening to a story, which combines history, culture, psychology and excitement. I loved the insights into Japanese culture and especially the insightful thinking of Lord Toranaga. Need a rest though before reading the next book in the series. ( )
  jvgravy | Oct 22, 2019 |
I thought this book was fantastic. I spent a year in Japan and never got the insight into Japanese character and customs the way I did from this book. While I was there I felt like I was surrounded by unquestioning obedience to authority and unthinking following of traditions, but it's really all based on trust--trust in the people above you/that came before you, and trust that obeisance will help maintain your Wa--your balance and harmony. I love that the book is from a foreigner to Japan’s point of view. At first, he is very critical of the Japanese customs, but comes to accept and even appreciate them. This helps the reader--(remember this was first printed in 1975) who might be baffled by the Japanese customs--learn about them with the main character. The descriptions of Japanese society, of the daily life and important rituals is very interesting, and it adds depth to the book. The conflict between the Catholics and Protestants gives the story another dimension and giving the Catholic characters chapters from their point of view makes them sympathetic characters. Everyone has a story to tell. I also like that Clavell has romance in his novel, but it doesn’t detract from or overtake the rest of the storyline. Clavell does a good job of interweaving numerous stories and characters without the reader getting confused, and I love that by the end we realize that the foreigner, with his foreign ideals of independence, is just a pawn in the game that is being played for the shogunate.

The narrator's performance was good. When I first started the book, I was having a hard time because it felt like Blackthorne was shouting all the time, but Lister settled in and the rest of the book was very consistent. ( )
  renardkitsune | Feb 16, 2018 |
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Volume 1 of 2. Please do not combine with the full novel, another volume or volume 1 from a 3 or 4 volumes edition.
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