Sunday, March 8, 2009


The Apprentice

This is Lewis Libby’s first novel. Yes, the Lewis Libby who was the only person convicted in connection with l’affaire Valerie Plame, a crime in which the actual perp walked. As to the book itself, it’s a very literary novel that centers around an incident in Japan. The novel is set in northern Japan shortly before the war with Russia (1905). A group of wayfarers are snowbound at an inn. There’s a murder, and the protagonist falls for a girl who is with a traveling troupe of players.

The article about the book over at Wikipedia gives the impression that a lot of perverse activity is present in the book. There is perversion, but just as the teenager who goes to Oedipus by Sophocles expecting a sexy romp about incest will be disappointed, so will the reader who goes to The Apprentice, expecting Henry Milleresque scenes. The perversity is mentioned in an entirely non-salacious way.

Libby does succeed in creating a highly visual, well imagined world. It’s not a page turner, but it’s worth reading.

I’ve been looking at The Book of Lost Books, and The Bad Catholics Guide to Good Living in the evenings while I waited for the computer to do its thing. Those books can be found here and here. Next up will be Stephen Pressfield’s Killing Rommel, followed by a return to Livy, and the Arrian as I finish up the Christmas books.

>