Friday, August 20, 2010

Review: Shinju, by Laura Joh Rowland


Pages: 437

Original date of publication: 1994

My edition: 2001 (Harper Torch)

Why I decided to read: I discovered this one browsing on Amazon

How I acquired my copy: Barnes and Noble, April 2010

Shinju is a novel that introduces its reader to Sano Ichiro, a member of the shogun class who serves as a yoriki, investigating crimes in seventeenth-century Edo (Tokyo). It’s a position he’d rather not be in, since he gained his position through connections; and many of his contemporaries resent him for it. When the daughter of one of the most preeminent families in Edo turns up dead in the company of a lowly artist, everyone assumes that they were a double love-suicide, or Shinju. But Sano Ichiro suspects otherwise, and his search for a murderer leads him into dangerous territory—especially since the family of the dead girl would rather keep the matter closed.

This is a very strong start to what seems like an interesting series. Sano Ichiro is an unusual investigator—anyone else in his position would simply commit seppuku rather than live with the shame of what he’s done; but Ichiro persists in his investigation, driven by his sense of honor. His unconventional behavior makes him an intriguing character, one I want to read more about in future books. Rowland’s description of her characters’ emotions is a bit simplistic, and our hero is both astute and dense at the same time (how did he figure out the identity of the “watcher” who follows him along the Tokkaido so quickly?); but I was able to overlook these things because I enjoyed much of the rest of the book.

I loved the setting of the book, too; Rowland describes everything about late-17th century Japan in deep detail. I love historically detailed novels, and people who look for that kind of thing will enjoy this book. Not knowing much about the history of Japan, I can’t say if this is historically accurate, but everything Rowland writes about hangs together well. From sumo matches to 17th century crime and punishment (brutal at the very least), the author gives her reader an intimate view of Edo.

3 comments:

黃英吳思潔吳思潔邦 said...

河水永遠是相同的,可是每一剎那又都是新的。..................................................

Marg said...

I first heard of this series years ago, and I wanted to read it. In the end I got the first 6 or 7 books sent to me from a friend in the US, which I was very excited about, and then still haven't read the first one.

I am in the process of reorganising my bookshelves, so maybe I will find it amongst my piles of unread books.

hangeng said...

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend then jewelry sabo schmuck
is her soul sister! Jewelry is such a powerful accessory thomas sabo charm
that many choose one fabulous piece and thomas sabo onlineshop
build an outfit around it. thomas sabo glaube liebe hoffnung
You can ruin a perfectly great outfit by wearing thomas sabo online shop deutschland
the wrong jewelry.Before we get into what and how to where jewelry thomas sabo armbänder
there are some no-nos that you should be aware of. schmuck thomas sabo
Relax – these are too tough to follow!Don’t overdo it with thomas sabo shop
jewelry. Keep it simple. Wear no more than one big piece schmuck thomas sabo ketten
such as earrings or necklace.Don’t wear an ankle bracelet thomas sabo ohrschmuck
or toe ring with a dressy outfit.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails