BookBrowse Reviews The Sadness of the Samurai by Victor del Arbol

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Sadness of the Samurai

A Novel

by Victor del Arbol

The Sadness of the Samurai by Victor del Arbol X
The Sadness of the Samurai by Victor del Arbol
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    May 2012, 400 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A historical thriller in which a family struggles for power, set in pro-Nazi Spain

Intricately woven. Complex. Del Árbol's first novel translated into English is a rich skein of a thriller that had me hooked from the start. Who are these people? How are they related? Are they related? Are they who they seem to be? My questions swam from chapter to chapter as my admiration grew for Del Árbol and his ability to track the fates of so many characters. There are over a dozen; but who's counting? I am, because even though this is María Bengoachea's story, each character contributes important plot points.

Spanning over forty years and three generations, the narrative rolls a meandering course. Like life itself, the story is far from linear. The only thing that follows a direct path is culpability. It is a key theme that spans all the story arcs as people are murdered, abandoned, abused, lied to, kidnapped, cheated on and plotted against. Oh yes. It is all here and more. And Del Árbol doesn't pull any punches. There is no flinching from the graphic, unabashed cruelty some people possess. Others, though, are merely cowards who believe that if they don't talk about the past, the meanness of their youth, it will just fade away.

No such luck. Culpability doesn't forget. In Del Árbol's world, chickens come home to roost even if it takes decades. And people who think they are in control of their own lives, their destinies, find out with heartbreaking irony they are little more than pawns being played on a chessboard. No one is certain about who is trustworthy, who might be their hero. Politics plays a role, shifting from motivation to landscape and back, a vehicle for showcasing humanity's often antithetical dimensions.

I have to applaud any author who can weave so many threads into such a smart, fascinating yarn. So I am purposely not giving away plot details or character names (save María's) here. It would spoil the fun. If you like your thrillers simple, straightforward, good-guys/bad-guys, this is not a novel for you. But if, like me, you like to savor a sophisticated chiller then by all means dig into this one.

Reviewed by Donna Chavez

This review is from the May 30, 2012 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Kinship of Secrets
    The Kinship of Secrets
    by Eugenia Kim
    Of our 20 First Impressions readers who submitted reviews for The Kinship of Secrets, all rated it ...
  • Book Jacket: Empire of Sand
    Empire of Sand
    by Tasha Suri
    Tasha Suri's debut novel, Empire of Sand, reads like something out of 1001 Arabian Nights, both ...
  • Book Jacket: In Byron's Wake
    In Byron's Wake
    by Miranda Seymour
    It's tempting to think that our age of celebrity worship coupled with the 24-hour news cycle is ...
  • Book Jacket: The Latecomers
    The Latecomers
    by Helen Klein Ross
    The Latecomers is the third novel written by acclaimed author Helen Klein Ross, following What Was ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Becoming
by Michelle Obama

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Golden Child
    by Claire Adam

    A deeply affecting debut novel set in Trinidad, following the lives of a family as they navigate impossible choices.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts

To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts

"Caitlin Hamilton Summie is our modern Chekhov."
- Savvy Verse & Wit

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Everything I H-D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.