Not my favorite, but still a good read. Part of the issue is the problematic history of the book; the controversy of the subject material and some of the author’s actions is complex, so I won’t get too into it, but the knowledge I had going in about the inaccuracies and background history did slightly modify my enjoyment. I also had read somewhere that this was considered one of the greatest romances of its time, so I kept waiting… and waiting…and waiting! for the romance to actually start. (Spoiler: it takes a long time to show up).
That being said, if you enjoy historical fiction, with a HUGE emphasis on the fiction aspect, this is an enjoyable story. The characters are well-enough developed, and the plot takes a few exciting twists and turns.
AND WHAT ABOUT THE MOVE? Ok, so the movie is also hella problematic. I’m determinedly in the camp that believes they should have made a much better effort to cast Japanese talent. That being said, the movie was a decent depiction of the source material. As can be expected, there were some deviations, but none stood out as detracting from the story. I wouldn’t have watched the movie if I hadn’t already read the book, and I don’t think I would have gotten some of the complexities if I had, but it probably would have been an ok movie either way. The score, cinematography, and acting is excellent, so any failings in the movie I think come directly from the original novel.