Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. May Learn how and when to remove this template message 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. 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.

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Start your review of Shibumi Write a review Shelves: spies The reading public back in picked this book up thinking they were reading a best selling thriller novel, little did they know they were going to be exposed to a Trevanian philosophy called SHIBUMI. It is a statement so correct that it does not have to be bold, so poignant it does not have to be pretty, so true it does not have to be real.

Eloquent silence. In The reading public back in picked this book up thinking they were reading a best selling thriller novel, little did they know they were going to be exposed to a Trevanian philosophy called SHIBUMI. In demeanor, it is modesty without prudency. And in the personality of a man, it is…authority without domination. And only a few men of infinite refinement ever do that. Written today it would obviously be written differently. Probably some of the more defining aspects of the book would be lost, but I still think this book would make the spring list of a major publisher.

He was born to an exiled Russian countess and a German soldier. His mother does whatever she needs to do to survive as territory changes hands and new armies march into town.

Luckily for Hei his mom has the good fortune to snag a Japanese General, Kishikawa,who takes a shine to the boy. He arranges for Nicholai to be sent back to friends who can further his teachings in the Japanese philosophy game of GO. Nicholai has a natural ear for languages and learns five. As the world destabilizes and the Americans and the Russians start competing for trophies, Nicholai finds himself without a country. His one asset is his knowledge of languages.

He takes a job working for the Americans even though he loathes them. 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.

The accusations that are thrown at him reminded me of when then Senator Obama was running for President and people were holding up signs with a Hitler mustache under his nose and accusing him of being a Stalinist.

I kind of felt they needed to pick whether he was a Nazi or a Communist. It is really hard to be both. None of this offends your sense of rational probability? Yes, in this novel there are four levels of sexual aptitude and I am not going to speculate as to where I fall on the spectrum. We find Nicholai living in a chateau in the Basque region of France. He is randy, fun loving, and a spelunking companion for Hei.

Trevanian must have had a giggle or two coming up with some of the Le Cagot expressions. Needless to say Hei becomes enmeshed with a situation counter to American interests.

He enlists the aid of his other friend "The Gnome" a dwarf Peter Dinklage? Body counts rise quickly, and in the course of his chess match with the Americans he realizes he has much more to lose than his life philosophy would ever have him admit. The book is at times over the top, spoofish, but the real brilliance of the book is the ability to read it on whatever level you want.

If you want to take it to the beach as a mind diverting entertainment it will deliver. If you want to read it and let your mind toss around the aspects of the philosophy of Shibumi that is also quite easily done.

Either approach to the book will garner enjoyment. You can recognize the victim by his constant efforts to get in touch with himself, to believe his spiritual feebleness is an interesting psychological warp, to construe his fleeing from responsibility as evidence that he and his life are uniquely open to new experiences.

In the later stages, the sufferer is reduced to seeking that most trivial of human activities: fun.


Shibumi – Trevanian



Shibumi. Il ritorno delle gru. L'etica dell'assassino perfetto




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