Items related to The Last Samurai

DeWitt, Helen The Last Samurai

ISBN 13: 9780676973259

The Last Samurai

4.16 avg rating
( 6,905 ratings by Goodreads )
9780676973259: The Last Samurai
View all copies of this ISBN edition:

This novel is the basis of the motion picture by the same title.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.


Helen DeWitt's extraordinary debut, The Last Samurai, centers on the relationship between Sibylla, a single mother of precocious and rigorous intelligence, and her son, who, owing to his mother's singular attitude to education, develops into a prodigy of learning. Ludo reads Homer in the original Greek at 4 before moving on to Hebrew, Japanese, Old Norse, and Inuit; studying advanced mathematical techniques (Fourier analysis and Laplace transformations); and, as the title hints, endlessly watching and analyzing Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece, The Seven Samurai. But the one question that eludes an answer is that of the name of his father: Sibylla believes the film obliquely provides the male role models that Ludo's genetic father cannot, and refuses to be drawn on the question of paternal identity. The child thinks differently, however, and eventually sets out on a search, one that leads him beyond the certainties of acquired knowledge into the complex and messy world of adults.

The novel draws on themes topical and perennial--the hothousing of children, the familiar literary trope of the quest for the (absent) father--and as such, divides itself into two halves: the first describes Ludo's education, the second follows him in his search for his father and father figures. The first stresses a sacred, Apollonian pursuit of logic, precise (if wayward) erudition, and the erratic and endlessly fascinating architecture of languages, while the second moves this knowledge into the world of emotion, human ambitions, and their attendant frustrations and failures.

The Last Samurai is about the pleasure of ideas, the rich varieties of human thought, the possibilities that life offers us, and, ultimately, the balance between the structures we make of the world and the chaos that it proffers in return. Stylistically, the novel mirrors this ambivalence: DeWitt's remarkable prose follows the shifts and breaks of human consciousness and memory, capturing the intrusions of unspoken thought that punctuate conversation while providing tantalizing disquisitions on, for example, Japanese grammar or the physics of aerodynamics. It is remarkable, profound, and often very funny. Arigato DeWitt-sensei. --Burhan Tufail

About the Author:

Author of The Last Samurai and Lightning Rods, “Helen Dewitt knows, in descending order of proficiency, Latin, ancient Greek, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Arabic, Hebrew, and Japanese: ‘The self is a set of linguistic patterns,’ she said. ‘Reading and speaking in another language is like stepping into an alternate history of yourself where all the bad connotations are gone’ (New York Magazine).”

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780811225502: The Last Samurai

Featured Edition

ISBN 10: 081122550X ISBN 13: 9780811225502
Publisher: New Directions, 2016

9781784707965: Last Samurai

vintag..., 2018

9780786866687: The Last Samurai

Miramax, 2000

9780099284628: The Last Samurai

Vintag..., 2001

9780786887002: The Last Samurai

Miramax, 2002

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

Stock Image

DeWitt, Helen
Published by London: Chatto and Windus (2000)
ISBN 10: 0676973256 ISBN 13: 9780676973259
New Hardcover Quantity: 1
(San Diego, CA, U.S.A.)

Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # Q-0676973256

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 82.50
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 5.45
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds