shibumi book review

I have no idea how I had never heard of this 1979 novel before this year, but there’s no doubt it has earned a spot on my list of favorites. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. I hear the rest of Trevanian’s books hop genres, so it’s difficult to say if any one is an indication of the quality of another, plot-wise. I read this book way back when and I thought it was worth another read. Shibumi is a meta-spy novel originally published in 1979, written by an author known only as Trevanian (later identified as Rodney William Whitaker). Post was not sent - check your email addresses! So the Mother Company is furious. It had me Googling and checking Wikipedia as I read, and taught me quite a bit along the way. Of course, there would be no story if a man of such skills were allowed peace and solitude: a favor owed to an old friend brings him back into the fold of international conspiracies and old grudges. Shibumi is understanding, rather than knowledge. This one, even more than the others, is therefore not for every taste (Hel's overdone anti-U.S. diatribes will also put off some readers), but those who can mesh gears with Trevanian's sexy, cruel streak will find this fascinating, creepy, razor's-edge entertainment. Great way to put it. When the CIA arranges for the Rome Airport murder of a trio of Jewish fanatics on their way to revenge the Munich killings, the plan is botched: there's one survivor--young American Hannah Stern. I recommend this to everybody. And with an anti-hero plot, maybe even a little before its time. We’re glad you found a book that interests you. In the meantime, Shibumi should provide enough entertainment and poetic nutrition to keep you satisfied. Verified Purchase. “By the stars, we hope”: Radical optimism in the work of Becky Chambers, I Read Canadian: Six books about the refugee experience, Good Economics for Hard Times — Book Review, Anna Wiener’s Uncanny Valley is the Most Important Tech Story in our Cultural Moment. The historical fiction angle drew me to the novel. If history, intelligence, espionage, and satire aren’t enough to interest you, Shibumi is a novel of spelunking and Go, too, neither of which is added in only passing thought. For that itch, Shibumi didn’t disappoint. Our reluctant hero has been retired for awhile, enjoying an active life exploring caves and living in an old chateau in his adopted Basque countryside. . What exactly is a meta-spy novel? Retrieve credentials. Think Ian Fleming’s James Bond stories, but with bucko literary flair and an anti-hero plot gone wild. The novel is well-researched and touches subjects, times and places where my knowledge is a bit thin or even non-existent. Indeed, it seems as believable and relevant today as, I suspect, it was in 1979. Nicholai Hel and Le Cagot have to be two of the most memorable I’ve encountered. You can purchase Shibumi on Amazon (affiliate link). Now Hel is retired, enjoying his passions for Basque caving and sexual connoisseurship (both rendered in detail). Shibumi is a damn good satire, too. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. And the Mother Company is frightened--despite its limitless power and resources, computerized and otherwise--when it's learned that desperate Hannah Stern is heading for the Basque country manse of German-Russian Nicholai Hel, a friend of her dead uncle's. But when Hannah arrives for sanctuary, she's soon followed by smug emissaries from the Mother Company--and their un-Shibumi brutishness (plus the fact that Hel bears one of them a 30-year grudge) provokes Hel back into action. As a writer and a student, one could hardly do better than to grab at least one of his other novels. Trevanian (The Eiger Sanction) writes thrillers with a tone all his own--rather decadent, austerely bloodthirsty, thoughtful but slickly detached. He’s the essence of calculated coolness, the suave spy skilled in both quick thinking and espionage. Magazine Subscribers (How to Find Your Reader Number). Trouble signing in? Learn how your comment data is processed. Pre-publication book reviews and features keeping readers and industry Indeed, the two adventures into the Gouffre Porte-de-Larrau cave system, which bookend the rising action of the story, were favorite parts for me — the descriptions of the cave system and the physical demands of the journey placed me directly in both. Because he is--as we learn in vivid flashbacks while the Mother Company researches Hel via computer--the world's greatest assassin and ""professional exterminator of international terrorists"": raised in Shanghai and wartime Japan, mystically gifted Nicholai was soon orphaned and soon learned to hate the U.S.; and all the time he was mastering quiet-kill techniques, immersing himself in the philosophical board-game Go, and seeking ""Shibumi""--a sort of essential Oriental dignity and cool. And when he returns home to his Basque estate, there's a bloody underground/mountainside showdown with the Mother Co. forces. At its heart, inside its historical fiction wrapper, Shibumi is a novel of international intelligence and espionage. The man wrote sentences the way Pavarotti merely hummed a tune. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. FICTION. And the minor characters — Mother Company man Mr. Diamond, CIA veteran agent Starr, the Gnome, Pierre the gardner, Hana, and Hannah, to name a few — provide a colorful, thoroughly developed and memorable ensemble. and though the negative aspects of American/European life are often taken to the extreme, Trevanian never fails to entertain if you take a lighthearted view (especially if you find complete agreement). I think Amazon suggested it, based on my past purchase of Shogun, or perhaps Istanbul Passage by Joseph Cannon. At its core the book is an essay on a wide range of topics such as politics, socioeconomics, spelunking, sex, and East/West culture clashes. His distaste for all things American runs a bit thick in spots, which may turn some folks away. All Rights Reserved. Shibumi is undoubtedly his best work and contains everything that should be in a good man's book: intrigue, spiritualism, sex, violence and history. Lastly, being a man who seeks to maximize all potential, his sexual prowess goes beyond the basics, able to take himself and his partners to heights of post-physical ecstasy. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. How twisted and uncomfortable? It’s free and takes less than 10 seconds! I absolutely loved the book and will read it again in the future. But we’re talking about the old Hel. He decides to fulfill Hannah Stern's aborted mission, succeeding despite all the Mother Co.'s efforts (he kills the Munich terrorists--on board a British plane--with the edge of a credit card). Throughout Shibumi, Trevanian has poured glass after glass of sweet word nectar while simultaneously creating an enthralling and clever caricature. © Copyright 2020 Kirkus Media LLC. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Definitely sounds like a unique book. I’ve honestly never read anything quite like it. […] Ils en parlent aussi : Crowded Vacuum, La tanière, Lire et délires, Franck’s books, Read look hear, Aleslire, Encore du noir, Les élucubrations de Fleur, Charybde 27, Les livres de K79, Libellus, Mots pour mots, Un aller retour dans le noir, Les livres que je lis, Phillip McCollum […]. While masquerading as an assassin/spy thriller, Shibumi is really a very interesting and mostly successful exercise in literary style and substance. Categories: . Book Review – Shibumi by Trevanian. It shows its age a little bit, but the writing is still vivid. The Mother Company? For Hel, everything culminates into the titled shibumi, a state of total understanding, awareness, and union with the surrounding environment. Sign up to receive monthly blog updates, book release news, and any other goodies I can think up along the way. The Agency even kills, by design, some of its own agents in the process. America and her people are clearly the favorite target of the author, Trevanian. corporations"" that has quietly taken over the CIA, along with most of the rest of the West's power forces. If you like the writing, it’s likely the rest of the books are just as wonderful. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Shibumi: A Novel at influencers in the know since 1933. It is till a good book. Read honest and unbiased product reviews from our users. Despite being published nearly 40 years ago, this aspect of the novel is, sadly, nowhere near being irrelevant or even dated. I promise not to bombard your inbox. ‧ ""A consortium of major international. Sure, his take on spy novel tropes is absurd, and if taken too seriously, may cause offense. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. November 1, 2018. by pcmccollum. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Shibumi at Shibumi is a damn good satire, too. When the CIA arranges for the Rome Airport murder of a trio of Jewish fanatics on their way to revenge the Munich killings,... by Trevanian You got me interested . Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for Shibumi at and arranges twisted and uncomfortable, but not unbelievable, plots to maintain its grasp on the western world’s energy and information. The first third of the book is an illustration of young Nicholai’s journey to metaphysical fitness. . I understand that this was written during a period where Eastern philosophy was en vogue (Kung Fu anyone?) Shibumi definitely earned a spot on my list of favorites, which means I’ll gladly mention it to friends and likely re-read it again someday. America and her people are clearly the favorite target of the author, Trevanian. When the CIA arranges for the Rome Airport murder of a trio of Jewish fanatics on their way to revenge the Munich killings, the plan is botched: there's one survivor—young American Hannah Stern. ""A consortium of major international. RELEASE DATE: June 5, 1979. Through humor and history, though, he jabs everything from the French to Volvos, and from religion to Andy Warhol.

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