The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

The Last Samurai

Helen DeWitt

This is probably the best book I've read this year. It made me think a lot and laugh a little. A wide ranging tale about a child genius and his search for his father. Along the way we confront, with him, modern life, education stereotyping and much more.

Extract

One interesting thing that happened today was that we took the Tube one way and then we took it the other way and a lady got into an argument with Sibylla. Sibylla said let's take the example of two men about to be burned at the stake, A dies at time t of heart failure while B burns to death at time t + n, I think we can all agree that B's life would be better if it was n minutes shorter. The lady said she thought it was rather different and Sibylla said it was exactly the same and the lady said there was no need to shout ...

Parallels
  • Tin Drum by Gunter Grass
  • Spring Sonata by Bernice Rubens
  • The Seven Samurai - the film