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Gai-Jin Paperback – May 19, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
From Kirkus Reviews
Top Customer Reviews
Gai-Jin starts off that way as well. The first 400 or 500 pages of Gai-Jin are classic Clavell. Combining many of the stories and characters from Shogun, Tai Pan, and Noble House. The books first 500 pages are terrific. Clavell using some familiar faces from his other books sets the stage for the Meiji Restoration in Japan.
The book in typical Clavell fashion talks about the history of Japan after the arrival of Commodore Perry in 1853 as well as of China while it was divided up into spheres of influence.
Gai-Jin is so good at setting the stage for Meiji with its characters discussing Japan's options of either learning for the Gai-Jin or attempting a futile resistance and facing humilation like China suffered under the Opium Wars.
Unfortunately Clavell died shortly after finishing this book. And unfortunately the affects of his illness affect the second half of the book. The book just loses focus 1/2 way through. My gut feeling is that Clavell's illness just caught up to him. Because the book just goes downhill and nowhere which is not typical of Clavell.
Clavell will never be replaced. Other fictional books about Asia do not even compare. Cloud of Sparrows, The Laura Joh Rowland Books, are ok but not in Clavell's league. The first half of Gai-Jin reminds us how good he was. Unfortunately, he will never be replaced.
This book has the murders, battles, rapes, natural disasters and convoluted politics that are the hallmarks of Clavell's writing. However, just like the Noble House heir, the book starts off wounded and never really recovers. Unlike many of Clavell's other books, there is no strong lead character to really carry the story, and as a result, it does not move as smoothly or as interesting as his previous books, Shogun and Tai-pan.
Unfortunately James Clavell has set the bar a little too high with his previous novels and this one isn't quite as good. Still, if you are a fan, it is worth reading. If you have never read a Clavell novel, pick up one of the others first and you will appreciate his writing more.
Most importantly though, remember that he was very sick, and had already written a number of fantastic novels already. I think this was a nice "last novel" and considering the shape he was in, as good a novel as anyone could write.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wish there was a direct sequel, but it is a lovely portrait of Japan in the late 1800's. Britain trying to muscle in, Japan trying the opposite.Published 7 days ago by Carol
i liked the 1st two books of his trilogy, but Gaijin was way too many characters and the terms used confusing. I muddled through it but would not recommend it.Published 1 month ago by dave grieve
I received this in 41/4x73/4 size, the The printing is too small. You should let people know that they are buying a smaller than normal paperback book
, not happy with this at... Read more
This book is very well written, although the plot is terribly convoluted. It's a page turner but requires patience and concentration.Published 2 months ago by Ross Smery
Unfortunately, James Clavell’s final book fits awkwardly into the otherwise-fantastic “Asian Saga”. Others have noted that Clavell was terminally ill when writing this novel, and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Chip Hunter
Typical Clavell -- multi Plots -- action packed --- the Asia series are all great reads ---Published 3 months ago by MCPO