By DeWitt, Helen
'A triumph - a genuinely new story, a genuinely new form' A. S. Byatt, New Yorker The fact is that 99 out of 100 adults spare themselves the trouble of rational thought 99% of the time Sibylla, an American-at-Oxford turned loose on London, finds herself trapped as a single mother... after a misguided one-night stand. High-minded principles of child-rearing work disastrously well. J. S. Mill (taught Greek at three) and Yo Yo Ma (Bach at two) claimed the methods would work with any child; when these succeed with the boy Ludo, he causes havoc at school and is home again in a month. (Is he a prodigy, a genius? Readers looking over Ludo's shoulder find themselves easily reading Greek and more.) Lacking male role models for a fatherless boy, Sibylla turns to endless replays of Kurosawa's masterpiece Seven Samurai. But Ludo is obsessed with the one thing he wants and doesn't know: his father's name. At eleven, inspired by his own take on the classic film, he sets out on a secret quest for the father he never knew. He'll be punched, sliced, and threatened with retribution. He may not live to see twelve. Or he may find a real samurai and save a mother who thinks boredom a fate worse than death.Read more
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Daughter of an American diplomat, Helen DeWitt was born in a suburb of Washington, D.C. in 1957 and grew up in Latin America. Abandoning a degree at Smith College, she went to Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, in 1979 to study classics. A Senior Scholarship at Brasenose College enabled her to get a DPhil and discover Sergio Leone, Akira Kurosawa and Mel Brooks. She left academia in 1988 to write a novel; she had 100 unfinished novels on her hard drive when The Last Samurai was published in 2000 to international acclaim. Her second novel, Lightning Rods, was published in 2011 and was shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize. She has contributed installations to Artists Space in New York and was resident and participant in the Plastic Words series at Raven Row in London. In descending order of proficiency she knows Latin, Ancient Greek, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Arabic, Hebrew and Japanese. She is based in Berlin.
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