A coming-of-age novel where the age to come to is about 6 or 7. Ludo, a boy who reads Homer at 5 and is mastering Arabic and French before Kindergarten is being raised by his single-mother Sibylla in London. As a stand-in for a father figure, Sibylla has the two of them watch Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai every day, when theyre not, they're riding the Circle Line subway for warmth and light during winter. Eventually Ludo, aged 11, goes searching for a father. He tests himself against these men as samurai would spar with bamboo swords. If they fought with real swords he would kill them! But we all know that a good samurai will parry the blow.
Cerebral, playful, and just a real joy of a yarn. The Last Samurai (sans Tom Cruise) is about emotional isolation and genius, and how neither can save you from the other. But with that, it is also about individual ability and potential, and having to come to terms with our personal ideals, even if you are a mega-genius or a legendary samurai.
Helen DeWitt's 2000 debut, The Last Samurai, was "destined to become a cult classic" (Miramax). The enterprising publisher sold the rights in twenty countries, so "Why not just, 'destined to become a classic?'" (Garth Risk Hallberg) And why must cultists tell the uninitiated it has nothing to do with Tom Cruise?