Shibumi is a novel by Trevanian with several references to Go.
- From the back cover:
Born in the ravages of World War I China to an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father, raised in the spiritual gardens of a Japanese Go master, he survives the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world's most artful lover and its most accomplished – and highly paid – assassin. Genius, mystic, master of language and culture, Hel's secret is his determination to attain a rare kind of personal excellence, a state of effortless perfection … shibumi.
The parts are titled as follows: Fuseki (opening), Sabaki (≈ settling stones), Seki (stand-off), Uttegae (snapback), Shicho (ladder), and Tsuru no Sugomori (crane’s nest).
The concept of Shibumi is said to be “great refinement underlying commonplace appearances; authority without domination”.
Trevanian spent some time as a boy in Japan in the 1940's.
- from Barnes & Noble:
Nicholai Hel is the world’s most wanted man. Born in Shanghai during the chaos of World War I, he is the son of an aristocratic Russian mother and a mysterious German father and is the protégé of a Japanese Go master. Hel survived the destruction of Hiroshima to emerge as the world’s most artful lover and its most accomplished – and well-paid – assassin. Hel is a genius, a mystic, and a master of language and culture, and his secret is his determination to attain a rare kind of personal excellence, a state of effortless perfection known only as shibumi.
Now living in an isolated mountain fortress with his exquisite mistress, Hel is unwillingly drawn back into the life he’d tried to leave behind when a beautiful young stranger arrives at his door, seeking help and refuge. It soon becomes clear that Hel is being tracked by his most sinister enemy — a supermonolith of international espionage known only as the Mother Company. The battle lines are drawn: ruthless power and corruption on one side, and on the other … shibumi.
St. Louis Post Dispatch
(…) Hel is a genius, a mystic, and a master of language and culture, and his secret is his determination to attain a rare kind of personal excellence, a state of effortless perfection known only as shibumi.
Trevanian is a master of international intrigue … this novel should establish his reputation in the forefront of the cloak and dagger genre.
Trevanian’s books have been translated into more than fourteen languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide.
- tartuffe This book is worth a read, especially for Go players. Certainly an understanding of Go and Asian (especially Japanese) culture allows a deeper exploration of the book. In addition to the previously mentioned chapter titles, concepts such as aji keshi, ko, furikawari, hane, kaketsugi, nozoki, yosu-miru, kikashi are adapted to other endeavours.
- setarkos? Shibumi will be a motion picture soon: http://www.hollywood.com/movies/detail/id/375360
- only planned until now? http://www.hollywood.com/moviedetail/Shibumi/375360
- See also
- Goodreads (mixed, 95% like it; 47% ★★★★★, 33% ★★★★, 14% ★★★, 3% ★★, 1% ★): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1059.Shibumi
- Article on the novel: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibumi_(novel)
- Article on the æsthetic concept (of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibui (shibui is an adjective related to shibumi)
Other books with titles referring to “shibumi”
(Links to goodreads.com)
- The Shibumi Strategy by Matthew E. May (Contributor) — “A personal leadership fable on applying principles of Zen to work & life choices”
- Shibumi and the Kitemaker by Mercer Mayer — Novel set in feudal Japan about an emperor’s daughter called Shibumi trying to alleviate the misery of the subjects
- Shibumi by Jonathan Aquino — A book of poetry
- The Little Manual of Shibumi Ki Do by Lao Hu — “concise instructions for entering the non-dual state and experiencing the miraculous nature of life” (about Zen)
- Satori by Don Winslow (Promotional Editions India by Nicholas Manning — A prequel novel based on Trevanian’s (Satori'' in Buddhism means something like “enlightenment”.)
- Shibumi Rulebook by Cameron Browne, Nestor Romeral Andres — An introduction to and rules for over 30 games played with the “Shibumi set”: “The Shibumi set is the simplest and most elegant of game systems, yet it hides surprising depth.”