Haiku

( 8 )

Overview

From the author of the acclaimed Burke series comes a sharply affecting new novel about a group of outcasts who undertake a “mission” to save a schizophrenic’s hidden treasure.
 
When his most beloved student dies as a result of what he believes to be his misguidance, Ho renounces his position as a revered sensei, abandons his dojo and all of his possessions, and embarks on a journey of atonement on the streets of New York City. Here a ...

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Haiku

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Overview

From the author of the acclaimed Burke series comes a sharply affecting new novel about a group of outcasts who undertake a “mission” to save a schizophrenic’s hidden treasure.
 
When his most beloved student dies as a result of what he believes to be his misguidance, Ho renounces his position as a revered sensei, abandons his dojo and all of his possessions, and embarks on a journey of atonement on the streets of New York City. Here a group of homeless men gather around him: Michael, a gambler who lost it all; Ranger, a psychotic Vietnam veteran; Lamont, an ex-con, poet, and alcoholic in that order; Target, a compulsive “clanger”; and Brewster, the keeper of a secret library in an abandoned inveterate building on the waterfront. When news hits that the building is slated for demolition, the group must subsume each individual’s demons into one shared goal: save Brewster's library, at all costs.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Andrew Vachss's] New York . . . is not borrowed from anybody, and it shimmers on the page as gaudily and scarily as it does on the streets."
New York

"Vachss gives such a smooth ride, it is easy to forget someone is driving."
The New York Times Book Review

"Compelling and challenging . . . [Vachss takes us] not simply into the mean streets but into a subterranean nightmare."
The Washington Post Book World

"Vachss's reverence for storytelling is evident in the blunt beauty of his language."
Chicago Sun-Times

"Andrew Vachss continues to write the most provocative novels around."
—Martha Grimes

"Vachss writes with . . . an unerring ear for the language of the streets."
Rocky Mountain News

"The voice of Vachss: uncompromising, exciting, and fiercely original."
—George Pelecanos

"Vachss is a master."
Sacramento Bee

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307475282
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,552,292
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Vachss
Andrew Vachss is a lawyer who represents children and youths exclusively. His many novels and two collections of short stories have been translated into twenty languages, and his work has appeared in Parade, Esquire, Playboy, and The New York Times, among other publications. A native New Yorker, he divides his time between the city of his birth and the Pacific Northwest.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended for Vachss Fans

    A group of men have come together as a family in a large city. The world sees them as homeless, but they see the worth and talents each brings, and have banded together to take care of each other. Ho is a former martial arts instructor who walked away from fame and fortune when he decided he was losing his honor by gaining riches. Lamont is a former convict and poet, now a man who drinks to make it through the day. Michael was a high-roller; a stockbroker with all the accomplishments of wealth until he became a gambler and lost all that he had accumulated. Brewster is a high-functioning schizophrenic, rejected by his family and on and off of his medicine. Target is a damaged man that none of the others understand. Ranger is a Vietnam vet who returned physically but not mentally from those brutal fields.

    This group comes together to accomplish a goal, something that is compellingly important to one of the group. Each man contributes what talents he has and they work together to accomplish their task. As they work, each also starts to let go of his demons and move toward a healthier place; helped by each other when nothing society had to offer seemed to help at all. The theme is that each man has his own truth, his 'haiku' and his life task is working toward the discovery of this inner truth and honor.

    Readers will recognize Andrew Vachss as the author of the Burke series; eighteen books that have some of the same themes. That series focuses on how society ignores the helpless; children who are molested and women who are degraded and brutalized. Burke and his group of friends work together to save these victims. In this series, the theme has been twisted a bit to show that there are other victims of society; the homeless who each have a story and an event that has put them where they are. Another twist is that now the same individuals others would see as victims have the ability to save themselves as well as others. Fans of previous Vachss books will enjoy Haiku; it uses the same sparse writing and the themes of honor and protection of those less able to help themselves. This book is recommended for readers of crime and mystery books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2010

    A Waste of Time

    I'd noticed in the last 3 or 4 Vachss novels in the Burke series that he seemed to be mailing it in. It was as if those books weren't meant to be read by any outsiders but only things to be written out and understood in only Vachss' head. My hope was all that would change with the departure of the Burke character and the introduction of his newest novel, Haiku. How wrong I was. It's gotten worse. Vachss seems to no longer be writing for the reader but rather for his own self absorbtion. He's designed his own language and inserted those words into characters less believable than any in Harry Potter novels. For me Vachss is done. He's no longer relevant to my reading list.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2010

    journeys and seasons

    Lots of things to like about this novel: its down-and-out characters, its hard-won and hard-edged wisdom, its plot coming down to a rather mundane activity, moving a library.
    The heart of the novel, revealed piece by piece, story by story, concerns exile, penance, and, for some, possibly, a less-fragmented life.
    Like haiku, Ho, the narrator and main character, travels light, listens well, speaks little, sees and feels much, but quietly.
    I never thought of haiku as hard-won or of a single haiku as a life practice; that aside, this stark novel has a season & cuts deeply into the seasons of our lives.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2010

    Average

    While Vachss still writes this story in a dark mood, his character development is lacking. Didn't really enjoy the ending but will continue to read Vachss - Burke is still an awesome character, bring him back!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2010

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    Posted March 20, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2010

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    Posted May 5, 2011

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