Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Musashi Readalong - Part 5

Readalong hosted by Jenners at Life...With Books.

Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa - translated from the Japanese by Charles S. Terry.
With a foreword by Edwin O. Reischauer.
First published 1971.

The Classic samurai novel about the real exploits of the most famous swordsman.

The 970p volume is separated into seven different books and we're reading one for each 9 day period of the readalong.

Book 1 - Book 2 - Book 3 - Book 4

Book 5 - Sky

Real life has me in it's grip at the moment so this week I'm having to settle for a very brief summary just to keep me up to date.

The end of Book 4 saw Musashi Otsu and Jotaro reunited and on their way to Edo. Unfortunately this didn't last long - Musashi goes on ahead and Matahachi seizes the opportunity to kidnap Otsu. Jotaro can't find Musashi and so once again the three are separated.
" Musashi had been roaming the countryside, devoting himself to ascetic practices, punishing his body to perfect his soul"
His attitude to life changes and he begins to see his life as being about more than fulfilling his own desires and that leadership is more than being the best swordsman. A year and a half pass and he finds himself in a village where he discovers a way to grow rice and other grains on a floodplain considered impossible to cultivate. When the village is attacked he takes charge and shows the villagers how to protect themselves. He also takes another young boy, Iori, under his wing...........when the villagers become too dependent on him he moves on.

I really enjoyed the parts of this book that focused on Musashi but for the first time I became a bit impatient with the extra subplots and new characters popping in and out. Probably because it made the book so long, my time was limited and I worried I wasn't going to finish. The final two books are shorter so hopefully I'll be back on track for next time.


  1. Please don't ever feel stress about these posts or getting the reading done on time. I beg you.

    And I agree that, with a little more focus, this book could have been better. It feels like it meanders quite a bit in parts, and I never know if a character is important or not. I've started to just gloss over names as I'm getting a bit confused on some of them.

    Hope real life settles down for you soon.

  2. I'm so impressed with everyone doing this readalong -- The Historian Readalong was what I focused on, but I've been keeping up with everyone's posts and really enjoying it! Keep up the great work!