Sunday, June 11, 2006

Nineteenth-century ninjas

Jane Yeh has a very funny review of Boris Akunin's latest at the Voice:

Bestsellers in their homeland, the Fandorin novels have made author Grigory Chkhartishvili a celebrity. Formerly an unknown academic specializing in Japanese literature, Chkhartishvili chose his nom de plume ('B. Akunin') as a nod to the 19th-century anarchist and philosopher Mikhail Bakunin. But apart from the occasional name check of Pushkin or Tolstoy, the series has few intellectual pretensions, instead offering straightforward detective thrills in a period setting. In Fandorin, Akunin too often relies on genre cliches like catchphrases (the sleuth enumerates clues by announcing, 'That is one,' 'That is two,' etc.) and character tics (he has a stammer). Still, The Death of Achilles is Akunin's paciest work yet�if perhaps his most ludicrous. Already a master of disguise, Fandorin now wields throwing stars and nunchakus, practices jujitsu and calligraphy, and is accompanied throughout by a faithful Japanese manservant/sidekick named Masa. Who knew 1880s Russia was so ninja-tastic?

1 comment:

  1. "That is one/that is two" is an unfortunate choice. The original Russian phrases are much more commonplace. Perhaps simple "First, ..", "Second, ..." would've been better.