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Shōgun: The Novel

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@Daisychain (bringing your quote from the Media thread over here):


There is the slightly/somewhat difficult issue of explaining non-whites or non-Westerners through a white, Western character, but it was still very well written, very new for the time, and very well acted.

One thing the book did well in this regard was fairly quickly moving away from solely Blackthorne's POV to incorporate a host of Japanese POVs and many crucial scenes which Blackthorne was not present for. It's also made clear that Blackthorne's understanding of Japanese politics, culture, people and so forth is imperfect and will remain imperfect, for all that he will spend the rest of his life in Japan. He assimilates, but not to the point of becoming "more Japanese than the Japanese." And of course, he doesn't end up ruling Japan, LOL; he's a tool of Toranaga's to use for Toranaga's own ends. Nor is he ever the smartest or savviest - that's Toranaga, obviously, and there are others. The single most influential action in the book isn't Blackthorne's, either, but Mariko's. So Clavell does avoid some of the thornier traps, which is rather remarkable considering this was first published in 1975.

(I only saw the miniseries once, decades ago, and can't recall anything about it other than Mariko's death scene.)

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Hi @Black Knight, I am still not great at posting, so hopes for the best.

Your post was thoughtful and made me contrast say a Last Samurai with the original novel Shogun, or the miniseries.  But I think you are definitely correct that there was a pointed-point of view from Toronaga's perspective. And I totally want to go back and re-read Mariko's story and also Fujiko's.  I do not have a grip on what happened to Fujiko, and I can't believe I cannot remember it?  I will have to steal my novel back from both my youngsters.

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I've got a LONG car drive coming up, and just found that Shogun on Audible is on sale for $8, for 53 (!!!) hours of storytelling.  The rating is 4.7, with almost 10K reviews -- and everything from 4.7-4.8 is pretty much excellent; I can't actually recall anything ranked above that.  So I jumped on that.  This is from I think late 2014 and now some novels tend to have at least one reader of each gender (sex?) and sometimes larger casts.  But Audible tends to have terrific performances even if one reader only.  Yay!

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Hello all,

I wanted to share my enthusiasm for the novel Shōgun by James Clavell. Set in feudal Japan during the 1600s, this epic historical fiction novel follows the journey of an English navigator named John Blackthorne who becomes embroiled in the political and cultural complexities of the country.

The vivid descriptions of Japanese culture, traditions, and politics are truly captivating and allow the reader to fully immerse themselves in the story. Clavell's writing style is engaging and well-paced, making this over 1,000 page novel a quick and enjoyable read.


For anyone who loves historical fiction or is interested in learning more about Japanese culture, I highly recommend giving Shōgun a chance.

Happy reading!

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