Once again, I waited for years to read a book, daunted by the sheer size of the work. It seemed like such a commitment. It took me exactly one month to finish the roughly 1,000 pages and now that I’m finished, I am truly saddened it is over. I have enjoyed being so wrapped up in Musashi's world and the times of 17th century Japan. Not only was the story compelling but the descriptive tidbits of life in that era wrapped up in historical locations and the politics of the time, I found my love of the Japanese culture that much greater. As beautiful as the translation was I wish I could read it in it’s original form as the artistic quality must be even greater.
Not your typical western styled novel with good vs. evil, rather a mans battle with himself seeking true enlightenment and trying to understand what it means to live by the sword & The Way of the Samurai. The Art of War is so much deeper and meaningful than the title suggests. Throughout the story of personal follies and triumph a subtle love story is also told that had me completely enamored with the characters and their understanding of honor and what it means to be honorable. This world could do with a lot more honorable people like them.
It is no wonder why this book is often referred to as the “Gone With The Wind” of Japanese literature. Truly a remarkable read. One I can highly recommend to anyone who wants to read a good story and learn culture and history along the way. I will be seeking out more books by Eiji Yoskikawa so I can stay in and experience this world a little longer. “Taiko” another 1,000-page novel awaits me. It will not be put off by its size/length this time knowing how much I thoroughly enjoyed “Musashi” and the world he lived in.
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