The Last Samurai (Paperback)

Staff Pick Badge
The Last Samurai Cover Image
On our shelves now:
Lake Forest Park
1 on hand, as of Sep 17 5:01am
1 on hand, as of Sep 17 5:30am
Seward Park
1 on hand, as of Sep 17 4:30am

Staff Reviews

This bold and ambitious first novel about a child genius and his eccentric single mother and their shared obsession with Kurasawa's "Seven Samurai" is not only stylistically daring and astutely intelligent, but also wonderfully funny. One of my top 10 books of all time! 

— From Robert

This is one of my top ten favorite novels of all time. I'm so glad it has been brought back into print. It is a bold and ambitious tale of a child genius, his eccentric single mother, and their shared obsession with Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. It is stylistically daring and astutely intelligent. It is also wonderfully funny. A rare work that can be truly called an original.

— From Robert


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?

Sibylla, an American-at-Oxford turned loose on London, finds herself trapped as a single mother after a misguided one-night stand. High-minded principles of child-rearing work disastrously well. J. S. Mill (taught Greek at three) and Yo Yo Ma (Bach at two) claimed the methods would work with any child; when these succeed with the boy Ludo, he causes havoc at school and is home again in a month. (Is he a prodigy, a genius? Readers looking over Ludo's shoulder find themselves easily reading Greek and more.) Lacking male role models for a fatherless boy, Sibylla turns to endless replays of Kurosawa's masterpiece Seven Samurai. But Ludo is obsessed with the one thing he wants and doesn't know: his father's name. At eleven, inspired by his own take on the classic film, he sets out on a secret quest for the father he never knew. He'll be punched, sliced, and threatened with retribution. He may not live to see twelve. Or he may find a real samurai and save a mother who thinks boredom a fate worse than death.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780811225502
ISBN-10: 081122550X
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: May 31st, 2016
Pages: 576
Language: English