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Gai-Jin by James Clavell
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Gai-Jin (original 1993; edition 1994)

by James Clavell

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1,871233,693 (3.64)19
Member:Audacity88
Title:Gai-Jin
Authors:James Clavell
Info:Dell (1994), Mass Market Paperback, 1248 pages
Collections:Your library, Read, Currently reading
Rating:***1/2
Tags:#fiction, Japan, expatriatism

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Gai-Jin by James Clavell (1993)

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
What a sprawling book. Not sure what to say.

I guess it will be interesting to see what the next book is like, since I couldn't see where the Noble House is going... ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
Not as good as his _Shogun_ and _Noble House_, it is said this is because Clavell was dying while he wrote this one. Lacks clarity and focus of a main character to follow throughout the book. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Not as good as Shogun, but still has that immersive quality where you feel less like you're reading a book and more like you're experiencing a world in miniature. And whereas Shogun is ultimately about Japan and not England, Gai-Jin does a good job of giving a view into the pros and cons of the Japanese and European ways of life side by side. ( )
  Audacity88 | May 20, 2014 |
From Publishers Weekly Clavell is in top-notch form in this sequel to Tai-pan , the second novel in what will be the Shogun quartet. In another monumental panorama of historic Asia, he again melds plot-driven storytelling and colorful characterization in vibrant collaboration with an exotic, dynamic setting. In 1862, as Japan slowly opens its doors to foreigners, or gai-jin , 20-year-old Mark Struan--grandson of Dirk Struan, founder of the Noble House commercial dynasty--is horseback-riding in Yokohama with other young Westerners, including beautiful Angelique Richaud, ward of the French Minister. In a brutal attack on their party, samurai bodyguards of Sanjiro, Daimyo of Satsuma, kill a young trader and grievously injure Struan. That night, as envoys of various nations try to discern why the Japanese would provoke an international incident, a ninja assassin sent to silence the attack's three survivors rapes the sedated Angelique but, smitten, fails to carry out his sacred duty. Struan rallies and begs Angelique to marry him; for her own purposes, she agrees but later realizes she must secretly terminate the pregnancy that resulted from the rape. She enlists the help of a syphilitic French trader and spy and thus enmires herself in blackmail. From his sickbed, Struan must salvage trade negotiations with Japan and save Noble House. Diplomatic intrigue, arms dealing, opium addiction and a riveting power struggle among Japanese warlords give additional weight to this sometimes implausible but unceasingly satisfying epic-length tome. Literary Guild main selection; major ad/promo.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Kirkus Reviews Back to feudal Japan, which now enters the modern world, from the master of the three-decker behemoth (Shogun, Tai-pan, Noble House, etc.). Once you're into it, you forgive Clavell his galloping grammar and anachronisms and are swept along by spirited storytelling. Although Clavell clearly takes this hackwork as weighty and worthy entertainment, the heart quails at a serious weighing of a novel peopled with larger-than-life comic-strip characters caught up in clichs of Japanese exotica and international business deals as well as of internecine warfare--all of which Clavell writes at full throttle as if infused by the soul of Alexandre Dumas. A sequel to Tai-pan (1966), this is the sixth novel in Clavell's Asian saga and takes place in 1862. The gai-jin (foreigners) have arrived, intent on doing business with the Japanese. With laws against the use of the wheel in carriages or carts, the Japanese, their tradition- bound Emperor and competing warlords detest the foreigners, who have ruined the Chinese with the Opium Wars. The mighty Struan shipping empire, Noble House, has built a base in Yokohama, but with the illness (fatal) of Culum Struan, tai-pan (head) of the business empire, 20-year-old Malcolm Struan stands ready to become tai-pan. In the first chapter, however, he's attacked by samurai assassins on the Tokaido road and lies either bedridden or hobbles about for the rest of the novel. Young Angelique Richaud, 18, Parisienne daughter of a gambler who has lost what money the family had, sets her eye on Malcolm. Angelique is raped by a rogue samurai and now secretly carries his child, unbeknownst to the love- besotted Malcolm. Angelique's syphilis-stricken fellow Frenchman Andre Poncin wends his way through the plot toward a glorious love- death with his Japanese mistress while Japanese warlords fight each other, samurai endlessly behead samurai, earthquakes shiver, and Yokohama burns. You get your money's worth if you want to spend it here. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for Summer) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. ( )
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
Like the other books of James Clavell, I borrowed this one from the library years ago. I liked his style and decided that I wanted to have his books. (Then I could take as long as I wanted, not be limited to a maximum of 6 weeks or so...) Now that I own it, I will read this one again, don't know when, but... definitely will.

Review: despite it is a good book, I liked it less than I liked shogun. For some reason it grabbed me less. The stories told were good, the characters enjoyable, even though some were good, some bad and most of them very cunning, just looking for personal advantage at every cost. The characters of the Chinese servants of Malcolm Struan were very likeable, describing the Chinese mindset quite accurate in my very humble opinion. The factions in Japanese society, sishi, in favor of the shogun/ the emperor and why, how, what were a lot less clear. Allies and enemies, it took me quite a while to figure out what the loyalties were, only to find that things were different from what I thought.
I got quite irritated with the westerners there, how can they be so dirty, have lice, while the Japanese were so much further in personal hygiene. But.... then I remembered... different times, different habits. :-)

The book gets 4 stars anyway, because I enjoyed reading it immensely, because while reading I felt like I was visiting the scenes. ( )
1 vote BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
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This novel is for you, whoever you are, with deep appreciation - for without you, the writer part of me would not exist.
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The panic-stricken girl was galloping full speed back towards the coast, half a mile ahead, along footpaths that led precariously through the rice swamps and paddy fields.
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From back cover: Grand in scope and scale, filled with the richness and passion of two great histories coming together, Gai-jin is the long-awaited sixth novel in James Clavell's magnificent Asian Saga. Sweeping us back to the enigmatic and elusive land of his best-selling Shogun, he weaves an extraordinary tale of Japan, now newly open to gai-jin - foreigners - and teeming with contradictions as the ancient and the modern meet in a clash of cultures, of nations, of generations. It is 1862, and in Japan's Foreign Settlement of Yokohama, reverberations from an explosive act of violence will forever alter - and connect - the lives of the major characters. Malcolm Struan, at twenty, is heir to the title of tai-pan of the most powerful and bitterly contested English trading company in the Orient, the Noble House. Malcolm's fate, and that of his family's legacy, become inextricably intertwined with that of a beautiful young French woman, Angelique Richaud. Desired by many, loved purely and passionately by Malcolm, Angelique will hold the future of the Noble House in her hands. Intricately interwoven into the story of the struggle for control of the Noble House is a powerful parallel story of the Land of the Gods, Japan, a country ripped apart by greed, idealism, and terrorism as groups of young xenophobic revolutionaries, ronin, attempt to seize the Shogunate and expel the hated gai-jin from Japan. One man, Lord Toranaga Yoshi, a direct descendant of the first Toranaga Shogun, attempts not only to protect the Shogunate, but to usher it, and Japan, into the modern age. Amid the brutality and heroism, the betrayals and the stunning romance, a multi-layered, complex story unfolds. Here the dark and erotic world of the pleasure houses - the Ladies of the Willow World, spies, and terrorists - meets the world of pageantry and power - monarchs and diplomats. And here East meets West in an inevitable collision of two equally powerful cultures as James Clavell creates a vibrant and authentic
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Malcolm Struan, the heir to the most powerful English trading company in the Orient, finds his fate intertwined with that of a beautiful young French woman.

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