The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai

4.16 (5,853 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Description

Sibylla, a single mother from a long line of frustrated talents, has unusual ideas about child rearing. Yo Yo Ma started piano at the age of two; her son starts at three. J.S.Mill learned Greek at three; Ludo starts at four, reading Homer as they travel round and round the Circle Line. A fatherless boy needs male role models; so she plays the film of Seven Samurai as a running backdrop to his childhood. While Sibylla types out back copies of Carpworld to pay the rent, Ludo, aged five, moves on the Hebrew, Arabic and Japanese, aerodynamics and edible insects of the world - they might come in handy, if he can just persuade his mother he's mature enough to know his father's name.He is bound for knowledge of a less manageable sort, not least about his mother's past. And at the heart of the book is the boy's changing relationship with Sibylla - contradictory, touching and tender
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Product details

  • Paperback | 496 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 29mm | 342g
  • VINTAGE
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0099284626
  • 9780099284628
  • 1,640,220

Back cover copy

Sibylla, a single mother from a long line of frustrated talents, has unusual ideas about child-rearing. Yo Yo Ma started piano at the age of two; her son starts at three. J.S. Mill learned Greek at three; Ludo starts at four, reading Homer as they travel round and round the Circle Line. A fatherless boy needs male role models; so she plays the film Seven Samurai as a running backdrop to his childhood. While Sibylla types out back copies of Carpworld to pay the rent, Ludo, aged five, moves on to Hebrew, Arabic and Japanese, aerodynamics and edible insects of the world - they might come in handy, if he can just persuade his mother he's mature enough to know his father's name...
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Review Text

"A triumph – a genuinely new story, a genuinely new form"
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Review quote

"Her style is brilliantly heartless, and cork-dry; original herself, she is a witty examiner of human and cultural eccentricity. She is, above all, playful... What grounds all DeWitt's brilliance and game-playing is the way that she dramatizes a certain kind of hyperintelligent rationalism and probes its irregular distribution of blindness and insight...a wonderfully funny book, but comedy dances near the abyss; the apprehension of humor's frailty links DeWitt to the tragicomic tradition of Cervantes, Sterne, and Nabokov" -- James Wood * New Yorker * "Fiercely intelligent, very funny and unlike anything else I've ever read" -- Mark Haddon "A triumph - a genuinely new story, a genuinely new form" -- A. S. Byatt "A bold, brilliant book...original both in content and form... DeWitt's zeal cannot fail to enchant" * Guardian * "An exhilaratingly literate and playful first novel by a fresh, electrifying talent. DeWitt goes to the top of the class...her adventurousness spins out on an epic scale" * New York Times *
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About Helen DeWitt

Helen DeWitt was born in Maryland, grew up in South America and now lives in Derbyshire. This is her first novel.
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Rating details

5,853 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 48% (2,834)
4 30% (1,762)
3 14% (822)
2 5% (282)
1 3% (153)
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