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The Tale of Murasaki: A Novelby Liza Dalby
Synopses & Reviews
Out of the life and work of Lady Murasaki, the author of, the world's first novel, The Tale of Genji, Liza Dalby has woven an exquisite and irresistible fiction that with rich, nuanced authenticity and lyrical drama, brings an elaborate past world to vivid life.
The sensitive and modest daughter of a mid-ranking court poet, Murasaki Shikibu staves off loneliness with her active imagination, telling stories about the dashing Prince Genji to her close friends. At first, they are their private entertainment, but soon Genji's amorous adventures are leaked to the public and Murasaki is thrust into the life of a kind of 11th century Japanese celebrity. She is compelled by a charismatic regent to accept a position at court regaling the empress with her stories. At court, Lady Murasaki becomes caught in a vortex of high politics and sexual intrigue, which begins to reflect itself in her stories. In this way, she comes to write her masterpiece, The Tale of Genji.
But this is much more than just an elegantly plotted historical novel. The Tale of Murasaki is a beautiful work of literary archaeology. Dalby, the only Westerner to have become a geisha and the author of the definitive book, Geisha, subtly reconstructs the fashions, sensibilities, manners, and preoccupations of 11th-century Japan. The result is a vivid portrait of a woman and her times, the most splendid in Japanese history. In The Tale of Murasaki, Dalby transports her readers to an exotic world and time and wraps them in a story that speaks clearly across the centuries. It is a dazzling literary achievement and a truly unique and wonderful reading experience.
From the Hardcover edition.
The daughter of a mid-ranking court poet, Murasaki Shikibu retreats into her imagination to chase away the blues but soon finds herself telling stories to the empress about the imaginary Prince Genji, in a novel that brings to life the colorful world of eleventh-century Japan and the life of the woman who wrote the world's first novel, The Tale of Genji. Reader's Guide available. Reprint. 40,000 first printing.
The Tale of Murasaki is an elegant and brilliantly authentic historical novel by the
About the Author
Liza Dalby is an anthropologist specializing in Japanese culture. As the only Westerner to have become a geisha, which she did as research for her Ph.D. and her books Geisha and Kimono, she is a consultant for Steven Spielberg's upcoming film adaptation of Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband and three children.
From the Hardcover edition.
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