The Signore: Shogun of the Warring States

Kunio Tsuji, Author, Stephen Snyder, Translator
Kunio Tsuji, Author, Stephen Snyder, Translator Kodansha America $17.95 (197p) ISBN 978-0-87011-939-2
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
To his 16th-century contemporaries, ``the Signore''--the warlord Oda Nobunaga who reunified Japan after two centuries of civil war--was a brutal, merciless tyrant fond of mass slaughter. But to the Italian adventurer who serves as nameless narrator of Tsuji's historical novel, Nobunaga is introspective and acutely sensitive, a supreme rationalist destroyed by his will to power and by utter isolation from his fellows. Although the narrative never fully resolves these contradictory sides of the hero's personality--a duality that may symbolize Japan's national character--the action depicts the birth of modern Japan as Nobunaga battles rival chieftains and Buddhist soldier-monks before his castle is consumed by flames. In counterpoint to the ruler's tragedy is the narrator's own story: having murdered his wife and her lover in a fit of rage, he leaps into an existential void and attempts to remake himself. Tsuji's cadenced prose, felicitously translated, evokes a bygone age. (Mar.)
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