James Clavell — “Shōgun” (1975)


Several days ago I’ve finished an epic book by James Clavell which I mentioned earlier. The “Shōgun” hit me between the eyes and I still can’t recover.


I received that book as a gift from a good old friend of mine and began to read it in the hospital. The writing style wasn’t too complicated, and I thought that I’ll be able to finish it in the beginning of May. But it turned out to be the beginning of June…

The plot of this book is quite simple.

[quote align=”” name=”Amazon.co.uk”]An epic saga of one Pilot-Major John Blackthorne, and his integration into the struggles and strife of feudal Japan. Both entertaining and incisive, “Shōgun” is a stunningly dramatic re-creation of a very different world. Starting with his shipwreck on this most alien of shores, the novel charts Blackthorne’s rise from the status of reviled foreigner up to the heights of trusted advisor and eventually, Samurai. All as civil war looms over the fragile country.[/quote]

I read a half of a book and then paused the process of reading. I absolutely hated the way Clavell describes Japan! I wasn’t able to accept the way Blackthorne thought about people and his own place in their lives. As an old passionate Japanese lover, I refused to accept his point of view. Barbarians, eh. While the plot revealed and protagonist lived in the Japanese society, his thoughts dramatically changed. He has become a half Japanese too, found his true love.


Love story. Too intense and dramatical. Even for me! I cried a lot, really. 800 pages of love and inevitable end. It hit me harder than the death of Jack Dawson in the “Titanic” movie. To be honest, it’s the most tragic love story I’ve ever read in years!

[quote align=”” name=”James Clavell”]”What can I do to help thee?” he asked. “Believe there is a tomorrow.”[/quote]

Book size. 1000+ pages of almost an A4 paper format — that’s what I like. I don’t see the other way to describe all the relationships between characters, betrayals, fights, etc. Some books are just designed to be big. Really big.


Love story. Probably, I’m too sensitive, but it struck me harder than I expected. Mr Clavell, why in the world you decided to end the story this way?!


My new favourite book, more to say… I was absolutely happy reading it. And now I can say that I don’t regret any single hour I’ve spent. I didn’t want it to end at all. Several places in the book were prolonged, nevertheless, this book is absolutely amazing.

Book cover via amazon.co.uk