Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Last Samurai

I finished The Last Samurai last night and it was absolutely heartrending. This is no relation to the movie of the same name (which I love and adore and may watch later tonight), but rather a somewhat bizarre story of a brilliant young woman raising a genius child and earning their way by transcribing back issues of Carpworld and Aquarium Fish Hobbyist. Their main hobby is watching The Seven Samurai ad infinitum.

Her introduction of the Greek alphabet and the first level (?) of Japanese kanji are worth the read all by themselves, and I am finally intrigued by the idea of learning classical Greek. I love books and authors who reference other books, which she does in spades, but through the filter of Sibylla it is more interesting than just dry footnotes and margin scribbles.

I loved the way the story seemed to jump about, but always picked up its loose ends. I loved the characters of Sibylla and Ludo and the strength of the bond between them. There are passages hilarious, tedious, moving and illuminating all. I was just along for the ride until the last couple of chapters, when things took a crazy left turn and everything came into focus. Ludo does find his father, but I think that he learns that the relationship that is most worth saving is the one he has with his mother.

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