Helen DeWitt

She's published one novel so far -- and anyone who's read it will be hoping that she publishes many, many more... and soon.

The Last Samurai (2000, Chatto & Windus; paperback edition 2001, Vintage. [ISBN 0 09 928462 6])
"Sibylla, a single mother from a long line of frustrated talents, has unusual ideas about child-rearing. Yo Yo Ma started piano at the age of two; her son starts at three. J.S. Mill learned Greek at three; Ludo starts at four, reading Homer as they travel round and round the Circle Line. A fatherless boy needs male role models; so she plays the film Seven Samurai as a running backdrop to his childhood. While Sibylla types out back copies of Carpworld to pay the rent, Ludo, aged five, moves on to hebrew, Arabic, and Japanese, aerodynamics, and edible insects of the world -- they might come in handy, if he can just persuade his mother he's mature enough to know his father's name..."

All the above is true, but completely inadequate; it gives little hint of the wit, humour, style, intelligence, and sheer enjoyability of the novel. I can sympathise with the blurb-writer; it's impossible to do this book justice in such a small space. In fact, it's impossible to do this book justice in fewer words than the book itself. In other words, you have to read it.
Go on, what are you waiting for?

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