Reflections on holiday pulp

WhirlwindWhirlwind by James Clavell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Since I was in high school, James Clavell has loomed largely among my guiltier pleasures. Somewhere circa age sixteen I plowed through Shogun and Tai-Pan one summer, and came away from them heady with Orientalism: because these books are, really, Orientalism at its pulpy contemporary finest (if that isn’t an oxymoron). In them, the European hero is thrown into an exotic, spice-scented eastern culture where, through a combination of courage, canny and luck, he is embroiled in conspiracies, admitted into the luxurious inner circles of power, beds beautiful women, and defeats his enemies….

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