Customer Reviews for

Shibumi

Average Rating 4
( 49 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

My first book by Trevanian.

Long ago when I was an apprentice electrician I was given a copy of Shibumi. I didn't know then that this novel would affect my life as it did. I met a Basque while working in Chantilly, and had to try to explain how I even knew the name! He said the book was correct in...
Long ago when I was an apprentice electrician I was given a copy of Shibumi. I didn't know then that this novel would affect my life as it did. I met a Basque while working in Chantilly, and had to try to explain how I even knew the name! He said the book was correct in many ways, so many I had to find my copy and let him read it! I have since read many more novels by Trevanian and enjoyed them all. But my favorite has been Shibumi, and I now keep a copy for myself and one for new freinds that I feel would enjoy it as much as I have.
Mr. Trevanian explains why he doesn't go into as much detail as in some of his other books and it makes sense that he does this. It also allows the reader to do any research into these skills as they see fit.
I hope you enjoy Shibumi as much as I did!

Jay Nash

posted by Jay_J_Nash_Jr on March 15, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Incredibly bad

I wonder if the spoof novels Rodney William Whitaker wrote include this one? I never in my life have rolled my eyes more times than reading this book. I seriously don't have the words for how ridiculous some of the situations in this book were. The historical parts were...
I wonder if the spoof novels Rodney William Whitaker wrote include this one? I never in my life have rolled my eyes more times than reading this book. I seriously don't have the words for how ridiculous some of the situations in this book were. The historical parts were fairly well done (which is why this got a 2 stars) but the main plot was boring and filled with holes a mile wide. For instance, he's in a prison and is basically strip searched for protection of the prisoner. But they let him bring a board game in?? And does anyone actually believe a person is going to knowingly and personally threaten, face-to-face mind you, the world's top assassin? The constant bashing of the Intelligence services (main target: the CIA-of course,) the U.S. in general, and various other cultures grows incredibly wearisome after hearing it for the 200th time. Being an American, I can only assume that Whitaker was either playing the world's anti-American attitude against them, or actually did hate the country in which he lived. And please don't get me started on Whitaker's foray into sexual proclivities which had absolutely no place in this novel whatsoever. One line read something to effect of "If a woman annoyed him, he treated her to a sexual encounter that would leave her vacant and searching through lovers and husbands for the rest of her life trying to achieve it again." Whitaker has quite a deep void of sexual knowledge if he believes this nonsense. Note: Whitaker devotes at least 10 times as much writing to sex (that has no bearing on the plot at all) as he does the assasination experience of the main character. The ending was a nearly complete letdown, from being far too short and non-descript (it feels like he just gave up because he was sick of writing,) to its structure, preposterousness and predictability. I simply can't help thinking this was simply another one of Whitaker's jokes.

posted by Themblues on January 13, 2011

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    My first book by Trevanian.

    Long ago when I was an apprentice electrician I was given a copy of Shibumi. I didn't know then that this novel would affect my life as it did. I met a Basque while working in Chantilly, and had to try to explain how I even knew the name! He said the book was correct in many ways, so many I had to find my copy and let him read it! I have since read many more novels by Trevanian and enjoyed them all. But my favorite has been Shibumi, and I now keep a copy for myself and one for new freinds that I feel would enjoy it as much as I have.
    Mr. Trevanian explains why he doesn't go into as much detail as in some of his other books and it makes sense that he does this. It also allows the reader to do any research into these skills as they see fit.
    I hope you enjoy Shibumi as much as I did!

    Jay Nash

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Unexpected

    This book is unlike any other I have read. In the first 80 pages or so I thought the book was going to be completely different than it was regarding who the protangonist and antagonist were going to be. There was a lot of back ground and character set up in the first half of the book which proved necessary in the end. Great twists and characters, I definitely recoommend this book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2011

    Incredibly bad

    I wonder if the spoof novels Rodney William Whitaker wrote include this one? I never in my life have rolled my eyes more times than reading this book. I seriously don't have the words for how ridiculous some of the situations in this book were. The historical parts were fairly well done (which is why this got a 2 stars) but the main plot was boring and filled with holes a mile wide. For instance, he's in a prison and is basically strip searched for protection of the prisoner. But they let him bring a board game in?? And does anyone actually believe a person is going to knowingly and personally threaten, face-to-face mind you, the world's top assassin? The constant bashing of the Intelligence services (main target: the CIA-of course,) the U.S. in general, and various other cultures grows incredibly wearisome after hearing it for the 200th time. Being an American, I can only assume that Whitaker was either playing the world's anti-American attitude against them, or actually did hate the country in which he lived. And please don't get me started on Whitaker's foray into sexual proclivities which had absolutely no place in this novel whatsoever. One line read something to effect of "If a woman annoyed him, he treated her to a sexual encounter that would leave her vacant and searching through lovers and husbands for the rest of her life trying to achieve it again." Whitaker has quite a deep void of sexual knowledge if he believes this nonsense. Note: Whitaker devotes at least 10 times as much writing to sex (that has no bearing on the plot at all) as he does the assasination experience of the main character. The ending was a nearly complete letdown, from being far too short and non-descript (it feels like he just gave up because he was sick of writing,) to its structure, preposterousness and predictability. I simply can't help thinking this was simply another one of Whitaker's jokes.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 7, 2012

    Second Time Reading

    This is an incredible book. What it lacks in story, it more than makes up for in writing style. Trevanian is gifted in his ability to describe with very few words. He could describe the color red to a blind person. I read this book when it was first published many many years ago and loved it. I just read another book, Satori, by another author. Satori is the first half of Nic Hel's life, but I would still recommend reading Shibumi first. I was so excited to find Nic Hel again in Satori, that I decided to reread Shibumi for the second time, not something I do a lot. I'm quite sure there'll be a 3rd and 4th time as well.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 16, 2012

    It was a let down, and could have been so much better. I had a h

    It was a let down, and could have been so much better. I had a hard time
    with the author's apparent unpatriotic sentiments; the character
    continually looks at anything American as bad or corrupt. Interesting
    background, potential for a great character, but he couldn't get past
    his prejudice of the USA. Though he was such an assassin, he really
    didn't seem to do much assassin work except for killing the CIA people
    who were out to get him, though they would go to the end of the Earth to
    do so. The book described the character's love of the game Go, but
    hardly explained how he gained any skill in the martial arts, which was
    quirky at best. I really wanted to like Nicholas, a sympathetic well
    developed character, but in the end his American hating was an
    unnecessary political component of the book, and the end of the book
    became ridiculous and rushed. Too bad.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2003

    Ludicrous but Entertaining

    I found this book on a vacation, and its a perfect vacation read-insane on its own principles, but entertaining. Minor bonuses include one of the most unsympathetic and unlikeable protagonists of all time (a vegitarian assassain?), a popularization of the great game of Go, and casual, ubitquitous and purposefully offensive stereotyping ('virginity is important for Arabs, who fear comparison, and with good reason'). The character of the Corporation Head was a nice touch.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2001

    It's good but where's the story?

    I'm a fan of this author and I did mostly enjoy this book. Except for the fact that there's no story. Over half the book is devoted to the main character's background, a fascinating yarn and in fact my favorite part, but it's all just back-story. When we finally get caught up to the present, the thin tale of revenge that's left leaves much to be desired. It seems to me there's something missing or incomplete about the whole thing. While parts of the book in themselves are really great and often very gripping, I think as a whole, this is not one of Trevanian's best efforts.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 4, 2013

    My copy of Shibumi has 453 pages in it.  That is easily 200 page

    My copy of Shibumi has 453 pages in it.  That is easily 200 pages more than is needed.

    This is not a comment on the author's mastery of language or the author's worldly knowledge or the author's "anti-american" sentiment.  The "story" lagged because of tedious exploration of Nikko Hel's background and the spelunking.  Hel's backstory could have come out in other ways, preferably through dialog with another character that in fact had character. and not a cardboard cutout.  Spelunking text was pointless.  It would have made sense if, while spelunking, Hel and Le Cagot had found a gold or diamond mine as a resource against the Mother Company taking his land and Swiss accounts, but no, it was just spelunking.  Take it out of the story, sell it as a separate book for those who care.  I would have preferred more scenes in the garden where Hel is achieving (or failing to achieve) Shibumi since this is, presumably, his life's goal in all his activities.

    Where did writers and publishers get the idea that good novels had to be 400 to 1,000 or more pages to be a good novel.  Even though the Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri was written for playwrights, the principals applied to novels would make much better novels.  I read this book because a friend of mine from years ago recommended it.  To honor that recommendation, I finally read the book.  It was good once it actually got to the story (but even then it fell short of greatness).  I was left with this as a final impression:  "Ah, Hel, another disappointment.!"

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    Goo???

    I've read this book several times during my life, and I was delighted to find it for the nook. Until I found that in translation to e-book, the game of 'Go' had been changed to 'Goo.' Go is very prominent in the book and essential to its concepts, and referring to the game as 'Goo' strips it of all dignity ... and, if I may, Shibumi. I never realized that the two-letter word "go" could be mispelled, and so badly (and so often, as it is referred to many, many times in the story, every time as 'goo.'

    The book is wonderful, and if you haven't read it, don't let the flaw bother you. It really is a fantastic story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    One of the best Spy novels ever written. This novel is like fine wine, it gets better with with age. The story is ageless. I highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    Not paying for it

    Boycott E-book! It's more than print

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great thriller for a great escape

    Trevanian is a fabulous author, going to bn.com now to pickup the "crazy ladies" book. The storyline was never dull or boring, always had me wanting to turn the page to know what happened.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2007

    Brad Pit would flourish in this role...

    Packed with intrique and layers of muses...One should focus on all the description of events and characters, nothing more or less. Great read, would make a great script!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2006

    Keanu Reeves is supposed to star in this!!!!

    I don't know how they are going to justify the timeline with someone so young as Keanu, but I have loved this book ever since a friend of mine let me borrow it for inspiration of overcoming writer's block. An excellent thriller that is reminscent, but nowhere near a copy of Eric Lustabder's Nicholas Linnear novels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2005

    Breaks the mold of Ludlum and the rest

    Although the book is a bit dated I first read it almost twenty years ago.. It is still one of my favorite reads . It has great action concepts such as ' Naked Kill' and wonderfully inventive sex. Here the uninitiated may pick up a few interesting ideas, overall a really fine book that remains interesting over time.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2002

    The best book I've ever read!!!

    I've read this book nine or ten times over the years and still find it as interesting and exciting as the first time. The concept of 'Shibumi' and the quiet strength of Hel make the book a blueprint to inner peace.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2001

    Gripping!

    I read this book years ago and still remember it as one of the best books I have ever read. I plan to re-read it as soon as I get a chance.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2000

    Favorite Books by Trevanian

    The best Trevanian by far !!! This book has it all . Action, adventure, sex, and intrigue .

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    G??

    In my "goo" review above, I memtioned the kindle edition renders the game's name as go (with a line over the o), which emerged as g? In the posted review.

    Interesting, and i wonder if this isn't a problem with the nook software rather than the e-book edition...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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