The Tale of Murasaki is an elegant and brilliantly authentic historical novel by the author of Geisha and the only Westerner ever to have become a geisha.
In the eleventh century Murasaki Shikibu wrote the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji, the most popular work in the history of Japanese literature. In The Tale of Murasaki , Liza Dalby has created a breathtaking fictionalized narrative of the life of this timeless poet–a lonely girl who becomes such a compelling storyteller that she is invited to regale the empress with her tales. The Tale of Murasaki is the story of an enchanting time and an exotic place. Whether writing about mystical rice fields in the rainy mountains or the politics and intrigue of the royal court, Dalby breathes astonishing life into ancient Japan.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Tale of Murasaki|
|Release Date: 08-13-2002|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||The Tale of Murasaki|
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The Tale of Murasaki
Chapter OneKatako's Letter
I was pregnant with you when my mother died, but my condition was far from normal. I was often overwhelmed by waves of nausea. The only thing that held them at bay was a fresh citron. Scratching the bumpy yellow yuzu skin released a tiny vapor of citrus essence to inhale and quell my rising gorge. But most of the time I simply surrendered to queasy lassitude. I had to tuck emergency drafts of yuzu and tangerine peel in my sleeves to get through my mother's funeral. She had been living in seclusion for some time. Some people, on hearing of her death, were surprised that she had still been alive.
Your grandmother was well known as the lady who wrote the Tale of Genji. That novel of romance and poignant observation appeared like a bright full moon floating out of a dark sky. No one had read anything like it before. It brought my mother fame and notoriety in her day. Still, I was surprised at the crowd that gathered for her final rites. At least a dozen ladies endured the inconvenient all-day trip to Ishiyama Temple. They must have been Genji readers who preferred the life they found in my mother's stories to their own dull husbands or difficult situations.
I'm sure my mother became a recluse in order to disentangle herself from Genji. The work had come to envelop her life. Yet Genji was also her child. She had created and nurtured it, but then, as children do, it grew up and eventually slipped from her control. I was a much more compliant child than the book. I never gave her as much cause for concern as did Genji.
Perhaps because people were infatuated with the heroine of her novel, they conf...