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Gai-Jin (Italian) Hardcover – 1995

58 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1995
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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: BCA, (1995)
  • Language: Italian
  • ASIN: B003UN42YO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,948,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 May 2001
Format: Hardcover
After the fabulous and hard hitting Tai-Pan comes Gai-Jin. The saga of the Noble House of Struan continues with the grandson of the mighty Tai-Pan. Set in Japan this novel is full of Politics, Sex and Violence, with a full cast of really believable characters. The story is well written and takes all points of view in this tale. The book is easy to get lost in and makes you hungry for more of the same. After reading this book once you will be sure to read it a second time and still be amazed at the twists and turns of the plot. More of the same is needed!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Herdson on 23 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came to Gai Jin having read James Clavell's outstanding Shogun a while ago. Comparing Gai Jin against that sets the bar exceptionally high but the comparison is inevitable as both are by the same author, epically long, set in Japan in time periods well removed from the present day (albeit more than 250 years apart), and involve foreigners coming to, shaping and being shaped by Japan, ambitious Japanese noblemen seeking to overturn and replace a weak central government, and a central love story.

So far, so similar. Ultimately, and although Gai Jin is a very good book, it is no Shogun. Before saying why not, it's worth stating what is good about it. The book is full of strong characters (and as with his other books, gives an unusual and satisfying prominence to their thoughts), there are several good and inter-relating storylines, the writing flows intelligently but unobtrusively for the first three-quarters at least. The Japan and the encroaching wider world of 1862/3 are vividly and very realistically portrayed so one gets a real sense of the sights, sounds and smells, and opportunities, challenges and motivations - and the clash of cultures - of the time.

However, to pigeon-hole it as simply 'historical drama' would be wrong: it is bigger than that. The book is full of tension, politicking, human failings and nobility. At times it has the pace, violence and claustrophobia of a thriller; at others, it adopts a more leisurely approach and lets the characters rather than action lead the way.

The problems come with the narratives. None seems dominant and so none drives the overall story.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
I recently came back to reading Gai-Jin after giving it up a few years ago as it was slow to get started. This time around I have definitely not been disappointed and my perserverence has been rewarded with a thoroughly engrossing read, filling me with knowledge and experiences of not only 19th century Japan, but also of Europe and imperial politics.
Don't read this book until you've read some other Clavell books, especially Tai-Pan and Shogun. Once you've read them definitely buy this one! They will give you some of the background and persuade you to carry on through some of the more pedestrian passages.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Patrick 2N on 23 Jan. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
This starts like an extraordinary book, and stays so until about two thirds. Then the prose becomes incredibly annoying, imprecise, repetitive; the characters become one-dimensional. It really feels like it was written by a third party from a sketched plot. Clavel sadly passed away the year after this was published. He may have lacked the time to properly finish what should have been his masterpiece. As it stands I just couldn't wait to get it over with.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Simone Meek on 27 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
I have just finished this book and wanted to see what other people had thought about it.
i was completely enthralled with all of the characters in this novel, the story lines, sub plots, everything about it compelling me to carry on reading it.
i have to admit that yes, shogun was a better book. i would certainly recommend reading Shogun and Tai-pan first, without this you would not fully understand the context of the book.
as to the reviewer that commented on the ending; i do believe that in the previous books all ties were not neatly tied up, i am now hungry to read the next in the saga, as clavell will, no doubt , provide us with information about the characters as he has done with characters from previous books in Gai-jin.
if you are looking for a book that is decently written and something to transport you away from eveyday life then look no further as this is all that you will need.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
I see that the collective verdict of this instalment of Clavell's epic saga is rather mixed. To add my own two-penneth I would offer that this is first and foremost a drama set within a highly specific historical context, and one whose main purpose is to illustrate the historical forces in operation at that highly portentous moment. The diplomatic wrangling and the internecine intrigue all take place within a framework that is conditioned by the global sweep of events. The American Civil War, British Sea Power, the Tai-Pai Rebellion on mainland China, shifting fault lines in the European balance of power, plague, famine, and above all the relentless machinations of money and business. All these factors are bought minutely to bare on the fortunes of this small and terribly exposed enclave of European adventurers, that clings to the edge of the alien and implacably hostile world of Shogunate Japan. To my mind the fact that many of the plot threads of the individual characters in the story are left unresolved only serves to highlight the fact that all these people were caught up in a web of forces vastly larger than themselves. All had severely limited choice and scope for action, given the constraints of the times, and the manners and mores imposed by their respective social systems, whether European or Asiatic. Having an interest in the historical developments that unfolded from this era I would even argue that the implicit conclusion of the tale is the Japanese naval victory against the Russian fleet at Tsushima in 1905, which marked the decisive arrival of Japan upon the world stage.Read more ›
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