Like I warned you, I’m extremely impatient when it comes to novels. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the first hundred pages of James Clavell’s Shogun, I find that by page 225, I’m growing bored. I’m experiencing diminishing returns when it comes to learning about Japanese culture circa 1600. Now that Clavell has gotten the reader mostly up to speed on the culture into which hero John Blackthorne has shipwrecked himself, more and more space is given to the machinations of the different political leaders and their chess game of power politics, each of them trying to figure out how best to use Blackthorne and his ships and cannons and guns to their own advantage. They spend a lot of time asking themselves all sorts of questions: Why has karma brought this ship to us now? Why is my enemy so concerned with Blackthorne? How did my enemy find out my secret? And I find myself asking, Why am I still reading this 1150 page novel?
I’m gonna skim through some more pages, but if there’s not another Shogun entry on my blog, you’ll know why. Sometimes, I come back around to a book. We’ll see. I’m hesitant to give up too easily since so many millions have loved this book.
No matter what, I’ve decided I want to see the 1980s mini-series Shogun staring Richard Chamberlain and Toshiro Mifune (Kurosawa’s biggest star, playing in Seven Samurai and Yojimbo and Rashoman and the underrated Stray Dog to name a few).