The Last Samurai is one book, which, even without clearly knowing what post-modernism is, I can call post-modern with some conviction. It has so many stylistic elements that could have never been found in traditional literature. The perspective changes in the middle of the book, there are many stories and anecdotes in the book, and Kurosawa's Seven Samurai always keeps holding the background.
The book is going through many things, primary amongst them is a young woman's attempt to bring up a child alone, while still trying to earn her living in a foreign country. She has no idea of the best practices of bringing up a child, and neither the time nor inclination to consult anyone on the topic. Sometimes her methods are atrocious - like taking her child to an art gallery to spend the entire day (because the house is too cold), or shuttling all day on the train line. The child hardly meets any other kids, and spends most of his time reading.
The various other things happening in the book include a lesson on Greek language, a primer on Japanese, pieces of the script of Seven Samurai, the story of Sanshiro Sugata, a story of blocked geniuses, and various other snippets on music and linguistics. It seems like a mosaic painting, and though the pieces look brilliant, sometimes, it takes a while to appreciate how they fit together. In Dewitt's book, it seems so far that the pattern is 'genius', but that does not necessarily fit everything. The stylistic nature also feels a little irritating sometimes, because it is done purely for effect - like sentences left mid-way and erratic grammar, which are disconcerting, and do not quite blend. Nevertheless, there is no boring moment in the book, except may be page 54.
The book has become a little more interesting ever since the son has begun to take longer parts of the narration. This is when his curiosity about his father begins to form a prominent theme of the book. I wonder if the curiosity about one's father is really so strong in a child, especially if he has had no interaction with other kids. Much is made out of this curiosity in many books and movies - and it seems as overdone as the eccentricity of dysfunctional families. Nonetheless, an Odyssey is always a good story...
To appreciate the references to the movie, I have begun watching The Seven Samurai. A great movie so far, but not one that I will be able to finish in one sitting because it is 3.5 hours long - something I am unable to fit in the current schedule.