A classic spy novel from the bestselling author, Trevanian, about a westerner raised in Japan who becomes one of the world's most accomplished assassins. Shibumi by Trevanian; 16 editions; First published in ; Subjects: Accessible book, Assassins, Fiction, Fugitives from justice, International. Editorial Reviews. Review. “One hell of a pleasure to read.” —Washington Post “ It's hard to Shibumi: A Novel - Kindle edition by Trevanian. Download it once.
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Trevanian. Shibumi. To the memories of the men who here appeared as: Kishikawa, Otake, de Lhandes, Le Cagot. All other characters and organizations in this. SHIBUMI, by Trevanian. Pages · soundofheaven.info Yoga Girl. Download Verbal & Non Verbal Reasoning by RS Aggarwal PDF. Author: Whitaker Rodney(Trevanian) shibumi · Read more Trevanian Shibumi oder der leise Tod scanned by Ginevra corrected by openoffice by Heinz .
This is a crafted book. Most people are just too lazy or too content with their own mediocrity. Nicholai Hel. TASTE the sumptuous flavors served to you in an assassin's lair! Real Go players tell me I'm about second Dan strength, but unfortunately I don't know any Basque at all. The book is filled with pointed criticisms of all nationalities, but Trevanian's favorite target is the Americans.
They express incredulity that Amazon reviews the book as a straight thriller. One refers to the book as"pure camp" and "one long piss take" from cover to cover. This is food for thought. If Shibumi was written as satire, my rating would immediately go from 1 star to four or 5.
There is no denying that this book is funny. The Wiki on Trevanian nee Robert Whitaker, university professor could be interpreted as evidence. Surely an educated man would not have created this thinly veiled masturbatory fantasy for ineffectual 12 year old boys in earnest? He must be joking I don't know.
I just don't know. Suffice to say, Shibumi stands alone. It is, to borrow from my main man Neal Stephenson, fractally stupid; meaning that if you were to examine any minute aspect of it, that aspect would be as stupid as the book in its entirety. View all 14 comments. Aug 20, Lyn rated it really liked it. He once killed a man while in a small room with 4 guards only paces away. His mother was Russian, his father was German and he was raised by a Japanese Army general.
He can speak more than six languages including Basque. He prefers caving to mountain climbing because it is more manly.
He is a genius and a mystic, a warrior and a gardener. Very enjoyable boo He once killed a man while in a small room with 4 guards only paces away. Very enjoyable book. First of all, this is really two stories: Honestly the second story, the gem of a storyteller tale was the better.
Sometimes it was high adventure and sometimes it was laugh out loud funny, as Trevanian, with a wry wink and nod, reminded the reader that this was a tall tale, have some fun with it.
One footnote really was the author, making a left field comment about some of his earlier books. I was intrigued to learn that the John Wick stories were heavily influenced by this book and in the first film, when Wick is driving onto the airstrip, the guard is reading Shibumi. Shibumi is a demonstration of a lost art form: View all 18 comments. If you've ever wanted to know what it takes to become the world's hottest lover and most kick-ass ninja-style assassin, then Shibumi lets you in on the secret.
First, you need to learn to play Go well; then you have to become fluent in Basque. Real Go players tell me I'm about second Dan strength, but unfortunately I don't know any Basque at all.
One out of two ain't bad, I guess. Anyway, you've probably figured out why I adore this engagingly crazy book. I don't really think it's necessary. Oh, well. I admit it. It's not completely standard. But, you know, just minor variations on the usual theme. This was my favorite bit: It was rumored that Trevanian was Robert Ludlum writing under a pen name.
Trevanian rejected that idea stating, "I don't even know who he is. I read Proust, but not much else written in the 20th century. When are they going to make a movie about him? Mar 25, Mike the Paladin rated it did not like it Shelves: I picked this up because it's been selected by a group I'm in as a group read. You know, since the late s or so the CIA has become the favored "whipping boy" I apologize for the cliche given my complaints about the book.
I was tempted to put in a link to I picked this up because it's been selected by a group I'm in as a group read. That's the wall where nameless stars are inset in a wall for agents killed in the line of duty.
Need I say that I realize the CIA has some "asses" and the I know some operations were quite probably far from kosher. Then again there are bad cops, soldiers who run or turn traitor and so on. I know, I was in in the early '70s discharged in ' I was once cursed by a teen for wearing my Class A uniform. Here we open going right down the line with so many cliches I figure they must have come from somewhere like "plots and characters are us". We are also covering up global warming because we are obviously slaves of the "Military Industrial Complex".
Obviously he's not only evil he's stupid We watch as the CIA pulls off an assassination and then kills their own men the assassins Standard operating procedure. I find the book derivative, predictable and cliche ridden. Enjoy this if it's what you like. I'm happy for you. I can't recommend it. If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Authority Without Domination: Diamond made of her to relieve his tensions.
Still, she was philosophic. No job is perfect. I am his concubine. Its appeal was so great at the time that immediately after having finished it, I wanted to take up Basque lessons and learn to play Goo. Mar 27, notgettingenough rated it liked it Shelves: I have to retract two stars and my rave review. I mean, clearly it was a rave. I'd say this book loses the plot about half way through, but to be fair, there isn't really a plot.
Once the book leaves Japan and finds its home in Basque land, it rapidly becomes close to unbearable. I am afraid that whilst I savoured the first half, the second I ended up just skimming. I have way too many good books on the shelf to be spending precious time on this one. I am leaving my half-cocked first discus Fuck.
I am leaving my half-cocked first discussion of this as it, testimony to my idiocy. It follows. After having to read — or start, at least — popular best sellers of late which are so badly written: Harry P. It can even be propagandist, if it is done the right way. Now that I think of it, is this a pattern: Shibumi could easily be like that, dragged out for ever, but instead it is one, standalone book.
And boy, does it stand alone. Class of its own. Americans are reading lots of books, but at least anecdotally it appears they are reading blockbusters and that smaller, literary titles are being pushed to the margins.
Do you see a similar trend in Europe, and what impact will this have? A lot of excellent new writers will never get read. This is hardest on the story-tellers of America, because writers of attractively-packaged fact and history are still doing fairly well, although even these readerships are dwindling, captured by the internet and by the electronic games that consume so much of the time of the kinds of kids who used to read history and science.
Hence Barbara Cartland is still the most popular English language writer in India. That although Shibumi was a best seller in its day, late seventies, now it would not survive, it is too intelligent and well written? The point is not that they are reading blockbusters, but that once upon a time these blockbusters were well crafted things, at least if this book is any guide. In fact, Shibumi has been an eye-opener for me.
I have been sticking up for some of these books lately when clearly I should not have been. But if Manny is correct in suggesting, as Trevanian is also observing, that English is going through a period of simplification and that this is the consequence, badly written tripe being lapped up by the reading public, what a tragedy.
I expect there will be more to come here after I have finished the book, but for now, I thought it was interesting to read what the author had to say later about his opinion on Israel and its neighbours: Since I first read Shibumi and then reread it twenty years later, my opinion of the Israeli-Palestinian situation has changed entirely, as a result of becoming much better informed Has your opinion in this regard at all changed since Shibumi has been published?
I hope there are many Americans who can remain flexible through the fog of prejudice and fear about this issue. Nicholas Hel would not have lent his support to the current leaders of Israel.
He would have wished the current rational leaders of Palestine all good fortune in negotiating towards peace with justice, now that Arafat is no longer in the way. Arafat's end has all the marks of an inside job, almost surely with the assistance of the second bureau. Israel, of course, knew what was going on, and it's likely that they informed the United States, but that's not sure.
It's hard to put limits on the incompetence of American intelligence services. Each time we find a lower value, they prove they can fail even that; so Israel might not have informed us early enough for us to get our clumsy hands into things and mess them up. What should America do now? Using such tatters of even-handedness as we still possess, we should guide drag, if necessary the Israelis into as fair and honest a sharing of land and water as is possible.
Then we must open our hands and carefully step back, out of Middle East affairs, turning them over to the United Nations. I wonder when this was written, it shows an unlikely trust in the United Nations, which in my opinion, is shamefully bereft of moral purpose. Oh, and this: I must take issue with all my friends who have reviewed this.
It is not just a fun book, or a thriller. It is a very strongly felt position about how we are living and how we should live. This book manages to hammer and hammer and hammer this message home, whilst making you feel like you are 'just reading a best seller'. That he has managed to write something so entirely enjoyable whilst doing this is such a feat, I am completely in awe of it.
Russian go-playing assassins with bottle-green eyes and 4th level lovemaking abilities. This book is for people who like James Bond, Jason Bourne, and all those other super-ninja Gary Stu action heroes fueled by atomic testosterone.
Except if you pay attention, Trevanian is laughing at you. Shibumi shamelessly exploits every single cliche in the genre and then sneers at them.
Trevanian's mockery of American culture is acidly funny and not particularly affectionate. Sometimes the self-aware satire and the angry derision seem to blend together. The Americans seemed to confuse standard of living with quality of life, equal opportunity with institutionalized mediocrity, bravery with courage, machismo with manhood, liberty with freedom, wordiness with articulation, fun with pleasure - in short, all of the misconceptions common to those who assume that justice implies equality for all, rather than equality for equals.
His mother was a Russian aristocrat, he was born in Shanghai, he was raised by a Japanese go master, and in the aftermath of World War II, he becomes the most ninjaest ninja ever. He learns Basque while spending three years in solitary confinement and so he moves to Spain to hang out in Basque country with his Afro-Euroasian concubine who is lovingly described as a collection of all the best body parts from the sum of her ethnicities.
The plot is your basic revenge thriller: Hel's ties of duty and obligation bring him into conflict with the Mother Company, which is the umbrella organization representing all the world's energy interests and pretty much controls the Western world.
In between snappy dialog in which Hel shows off how he is just so refined and Shibumi and shit with derision leveled at every Western country the Brits, the French, the Italians, and the Germans all get it in the neck at some point, but no one more than Americans , there are action scenes where Hel proves he can do everything from cave diving to killing people with playing cards, equally over-the-top sex scenes 'cause of course learning to kill and play go also makes Hel totally awesome at the sexing.
What elevated this book above the schlock it is pretending to be is the vicious satire and the clever writing.
Trevanian could write some sophisticated literary pulp fiction. He was having fun while poking his readers in the eye. He plays it straight all the way through: Shibumi reads like you are supposed to take it seriously, but you can kind of hear the author's snicker echoing in the main character's dialog. I suspect the racism and sexism was part of the performance. This is a Men's Adventure novel for the cynical hipsters of the 70s, back before appropriating Japanese culture was what all the cool kids did and the idea of structuring a killer thriller around the Oriental game of go yeah, Shibumi uses words like "Oriental" unironically, and also refers to Arabs as "goat-herds" and portrays all the Arab characters as cowardly gay terrorists made all the literati who wanted to read something a little more masculine than J.
Tolkien groove on Trevanian's way cool, like, deeep understanding of Oriental culture, man. Alas, I can't mock Trevanian nearly as wittily as he mocks me. This was a fun novel, entertaining on multiple levels. It really does have the tone of a literary author slumming in a chanbara cinema. View all 5 comments. Sep 19, Jim rated it really liked it Shelves: My original review was wrong in a couple of respects, not bad though for the 25 years or so that had passed since I read it.
Truly well done. Nicholas Hel is an interesting character, one of the most complicated I've ever read in a mystery-t My original review was wrong in a couple of respects, not bad though for the 25 years or so that had passed since I read it. Nicholas Hel is an interesting character, one of the most complicated I've ever read in a mystery-thriller.
Not sure what book that was in. Shibumi is the noun form of 'shibui' according to Wikipedia, although the book says at one point that the former is greater than the latter. As I understand Trevanian's definition in the book, it is the aesthetic of perfect function in or of something that is done in a simple and unobtrusively beautiful way or form. No one has any respect for anyone else, but it is often so artfully phrased that it's almost fun, especially since the insults fall on every nation.
Hel tells one American, "Generalization is flawed thinking only when applied to individuals. It is the most accurate way to describe the mass, the Wad. And yours is a democracy, a dictatorship of the Wad. The Mother Company is another cynical construct of such possibility that it is scary.
Worse, this book from discusses a computer system that has so many facts about everyone that it takes an artistic touch to obtain a meaningful overview of a person. All very well done, but there were some flies in the ointment. Trevanian made his excuses early as I pointed out above, but it still casts them in as 'magical fixes'.
Life was a bit too cheap, too. Another is Hel's martial art skill. We never find out where or how he learned it, but he's legendary for killing people with whatever is at hand, including a drinking straw.
We spend a good chunk of the book exploring Go, caves, even how he picked up his legendary skill at making love, but there is no mention of when, how, or where he picked up his deadliest skill.
Again, it comes off as neat, but magical, so severely weakened the novel as a whole for me. Very cool. It's set back during the Korean War, so before "Shibumi". I've ordered it, so hopefully will review it soon. I can't really explain without giving away too much of the book.
Your mileage could very well vary, though. As I recall, it was well written. If you like David Morrell's or Stephen Hunter's spy novels, you'll probably like this.
View all 8 comments. Doktor B. İfade dolu bir sessizlik demek. Apr 08, David Lucero rated it it was amazing. Nicolai Nikko Hel is a one of a kind man caught in uncommon circumstances. When he and his mother are trapped in China during the Japanese invasion, they are accepted into the home of a Japanese general of administration who takes a liking to Nikko known more commonly as Hel. He teaches the boy many languages, including the art of Shibumi, which is more than simply the knowledge of things, but rather the 'understanding' of things.
Over the course of the war and Japan's eventual surrender, Hel Nicolai Nikko Hel is a one of a kind man caught in uncommon circumstances.
Over the course of the war and Japan's eventual surrender, Hel finds himself without a country. Being half-Russian, he is suspect among conquering Americans, who learn to accept him because of his multi-linguistic capabilities. His knowledge of martial arts helps him during meditation periods after he spends a time in prison.
Upon his eventual release, Americans use his skills to infiltrate enemy organizations, and Hel soon becomes an efficient killer. But Hel takes revenge on those who have thrust him into this life of murder-for-hire. And when a man seeking revenge for the loss of his brother by Hel's hands, Nikko Hel's quiet, dignified life in the Spanish Basque mountains is suddenly turned upside down. It will take all of his skills to survive and possible seek to 'quiet' those who would dare challenge him.
This book was recommended to me by my son, who has this copy in his collection. It's the sort of story one keeps for another read. The characters are colorful and illuminating. I was left to wonder if this sort of person actually existed, and would not be all surprised if there are. Written in , this book like so many proves a story is timeless. Fred Shaw Awesome review David!
Apr 13, David Lucero Thanks Fred! I highly recommend this book. View 2 comments. Less a novel than Trevanian's expansive personal shitlist of people he hates in novel-form. A partial list of said people includes: Arabs, Americans, young people, some Jews, women who aren't concubines, feminists, Texans, Russians, Prussians, merchants, Andy Warhol, modern Japanese, Arabs seriously, Italians, French, Brits, some Basques, Cowboys, War Criminals Japanese ones excluded, Christians, chess players, wine snobs, Clint Eastwood, bankers, airport security, gays this despite his see Less a novel than Trevanian's expansive personal shitlist of people he hates in novel-form.
Arabs, Americans, young people, some Jews, women who aren't concubines, feminists, Texans, Russians, Prussians, merchants, Andy Warhol, modern Japanese, Arabs seriously, Italians, French, Brits, some Basques, Cowboys, War Criminals Japanese ones excluded, Christians, chess players, wine snobs, Clint Eastwood, bankers, airport security, gays this despite his seeming-penchant for the rippling thighs of young Basque lads, salespeople, Stage 1 lovers, and Arabs.
He really, really hates Arabs. He sure seems to be down with assholes, though. Ahh, Shibumi: Don't ever change. View 1 comment. I recall seeing Shibumi on paperback stands when I was in elementary middle school, and it seemed like a typical thriller like the Robert Ludlum and Erik Van Lustbader novels I was starting to graduate to after tiring of the Mack Bolan "The Executioner" action series.
I never did pick it up even though it did seem like something I would have read at the time. I'm glad I didn't, because it would have been over my young, callow head. I wouldn't have picked up on the fact that it is a witty, inte I recall seeing Shibumi on paperback stands when I was in elementary middle school, and it seemed like a typical thriller like the Robert Ludlum and Erik Van Lustbader novels I was starting to graduate to after tiring of the Mack Bolan "The Executioner" action series.
I wouldn't have picked up on the fact that it is a witty, intelligent spy spoof more the film version of The Manchurian Candidate or a less arch Dr. Strangelove than Our Man Flint or those Dean Martin "Matt Helm" movies , and the digressions to things philosophical and arcane would have bored me. He's an international assassin, but he hardly ever kills anybody!
He just sits around and plays Go, and disparages westerners, and meditates, and occasionally has tantric sex! And then he goes spelunking for a hundred pages!
And he has basically what amounts to Spidey-Sense?! And it would be, if Trevanian weren't a prose writer practically without fault, with an acid wit that doesn't belay his ability to exhibit deep feeling when called for. For one who is ostensibly a writer of "airport paperbacks," Trevanian takes his time and lets the story build up over the long haul.
He avoids cliches and takes narrative turns that the reader won't necessarily suspect, but are nonetheless satisfying. He is also remarkably prescient regarding world politics and finance, and what probably seemed mere fancy to readers in will strike a chord of plausibility in those of us today who sometimes wonder who's really running things.
Plus, he taught me about "Volvo-bashing"! View all 3 comments. Jun 19, Marius van Blerck rated it did not like it. I must really be missing something. A quick internet search locates many favourable reviews of both this book, and of its author, Rodney William Whitaker aka Trevanian , who apparently positioned himself as someone who read Proust, but not much else written in the 20th century. Consider this statement from Wikipedia: Shibumi is elaborately written, using a very extended vocabulary, based on a sound knowledge in history and geopolitics, switching easily from pessimism to wry humor, Shibumi is mo I must really be missing something.
Shibumi is elaborately written, using a very extended vocabulary, based on a sound knowledge in history and geopolitics, switching easily from pessimism to wry humor, Shibumi is more than a mere thriller, and may be compared to other works such as Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-four and Fahrenheit However, I have seldom read or listened to a more inept, poorly-written thriller, and the comparison to the three great works referred to is ludicrous.
The characters in Shibumi are absurd stereotypes, the writing-style is awkward clearly if the author indeed read Proust extensively, he absorbed little , and the plot-line is as weak as cheap coffee. Mar 01, ilknur a. Zorlama geldi bana. Oct 01, Arun Divakar rated it it was ok. The name reminded me of a Samurai and of what he would have faced during a life time of combat.
There can be parallels to this idea in this book but what it is in reality is a totally different beast.
Trevanian creates an elaborate joke which scorns at the 'Super Assassin' genre in Shibumi. Shibumi in simple English means Casual Elegance tells the author. A way of life which in itself sets the dudes aside from the dunderheads. The story is about a man named Nicholai Hel who the author repeatedly The name reminded me of a Samurai and of what he would have faced during a life time of combat.
A mystic, a sexually hyper charged alpha male, able to kill with bare hands, world renowned underground cave explorer, well read and a polyglot with a command of over seven languages, able to think in mathematical abstractions owing to his refined state of play in the Japanese game of Go etc.
Yes, I am talking about one man and he is not a computer. The back story fills a big chunk of the book and then for about a hundred pages we are given the details of how he discovers an underground cave. Being an assassin, his core competency is examined in roughly about 15 pages towards the end. For a man of such fine tastes, the way he overcomes his enemies is something that made me blanch. I strongly believe that the final pages of this book was the biggest bunch of hogwash I have ever read in recent times.
There is a lot of America bashing in here, Trevanian spares nothing: The conclusion: There are culture comparisons and then there is bitching. A good part of the comments offered here fall into the second category.
For a book that was recommended as a master piece among thrillers, this one was a dud!
Dec 07, Austin rated it it was ok Shelves: The first warning sign was that the author goes by only one name. Any guy who attempts this little bit of artifice not doubt has an ego that impedes upon gentle ingress and egress of doors, automobiles, sweaters, etc.
Even the people who have pulled off the single moniker still have full names that are known to their most ardent fans e. Still, this was enough to have me determined to root against the guy's protagonist out of sheer spite, but I digr The first warning sign was that the author goes by only one name. Still, this was enough to have me determined to root against the guy's protagonist out of sheer spite, but I digress The only reason I didn't give it 1 star is that there are brief passages that are well written and offer keen insights into either the human condition or the American personality in as much as either truly exists.
Of course, there are passages where he tries the same and misses or just beats the Americans-are-shallow angle to death.
In the end, I am embarrassed to admit, I did end up rooting for the protagonist and don't entirely regret the time I spent reading this one, so it I'll let him keep the second star for the time being.
The rankings have likely been adjusted in more recent years. Proof that not all hive-minds are created equal Jun 25, Rosalind Hartmann rated it it was amazing. My high school senior year literature teacher gave me this book to read during a post graduate visit.
It's an amazing book about a hired killer with a zen like outlook on life and death. One of my favorite books ever. Apr 03, Elif rated it really liked it. A nice read. All are from the paperback copy. Use them after your first read of the review or as you go. You choose. Originally published in Trevanian is one of the pen names of Rodney William Whitaker He notably wrote The Eiger Sanction. My Satori comments.
In demeanor, it is modesty without pudency. In art, …it is elegant simplicity, articulate brevity. In philosophy, …is spiritual tranquility that is not passive, it is being without the angst of becoming. Winston Churchill. Proverbial , proverb , epigram , maxim. In my opinion the cover endorsements on the paperback edition get it wrong about the book. Airport paperbacks?!?! Sounds like a barely polite euphemism for pulp fiction.
Writers of all genres including pulp fiction should be offended to be categorized as being merely worthy of filling airport shelves with illiterate works for passing travelers. But what do you expect from the New York Times and their singular evaluation of their own self-importance.
What are they smoking, but not reading, up there in Wisconsin? The rest is back front, and side story, equally excellent in its own right, but not spy story per se. Shibumi is a novel published in , written in English by Trevanian , a pseudonym of Rodney William Whitaker. Nicholai Hel is an assassin, born in Shanghai in and raised in a cosmopolitan fashion by his mother, a deposed member of the Russian aristocracy, and a general in the Japanese Imperial Army who has been billeted in Nicholai's mansion.
Under the general, Hel is introduced to the concept of shibumi and the game Go , eventually being sent to Japan , where he trains under a famous master of the game and becomes 'culturally Japanese'.
The master of this school discovers Nicholai's ability to mentally escape from reality and come back rested and refreshed mystic transport. When Japan surrenders in , Hel, after long months of hunger, finds thanks to his knowledge of many languages a job as an interpreter in the US Occupation Army and becomes a decoder agent in United States Intelligence. Hel learns that the general who raised him is being held as a prisoner of war by the Russians and faces an ignominious show-trial for war crimes.
After visiting the General in captivity, he realises that he has provided the Russians a way to hurt the man he respects so much, having confirmed to the Soviet operative in charge of the prosecution the emotional attachment the General has to Hel. Hel decides that the only way to show his gratitude and love for the man whom he has come to view as his father is to offer the General a way out of his captivity, one that avoids the public indignity of the public trial. Upon his next visit, Hel, speaking in veiled terms, offers to kill the General.
After some resistance the General realises the sincerity of the offer and accepts. Hel is then tortured by the Americans and held in solitary confinement without trial, Hel being a citizen of no country. In prison, his physical and mental discipline, along with studying the Basque language from some old books abandoned by a missionary, help him to retain his sanity, although, due to intense anger and hatred, he is no longer able to fully escape mentally and reach his state of peaceful ecstasy.
He even develops, in his solitude, a "proximity sense" through which he is aware of any being drawing near along with its amicable or hostile intentions , and which also allows him to find his way in complete darkness. It is in desperate need of an agent able to cause severe discord between Russia and China. It needs someone who has nothing to lose, who has European features, and who can speak fluent Chinese and Russian.
Hel succeeds in his mission, taking for payment the names and locations of those who tortured him, and goes on to become one of the highest-paid and most skillful assassins in the world.
The novel begins with Hel, retired in his late fifties in a small castle overlooking a village of the Haute-Soule , in the mountainous Northern Basque Country. Hel thinks he is now allowed to enjoy life in a shibui way mingling discreet epicureanism with fatalism and detachment and he slowly improves his Japanese garden , enjoys restrictive gastronomy , and practices highly esoteric sex with his concubine.
Hel's shibumi existence is interrupted by the arrival of the niece of a man who saved Hel's life many years ago, herself the only survivor of a Jewish commando unit that took up arms to terminate the last of the Black September terrorists, the rest of the small unit having been gunned down in an Italian airport by CIA agents.