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Widely acknowledged as the world's first novel, this astonishingly lovely book was written by a court lady in Heian Japan and offers a window into that formal, mannered world. Genji, a man of passionate impulses and a lover of beauty, is the favorite son of the Emperor, though his position at court is not entirely stable. He follows his wayward longings through moonlight-soaked gardens and jeweled pavilions, with mysterious women such as the Lady of the Orange Blossoms, the Akashi lady, and his own father's Empress. This version is translated by Edward G. Seidensticker, who has translated a number of other great Japanese writers such as Mishima and Kawabata.
"Not only the world's first real novel, but one of its greatest."
-- Donald Keene, Columbia University"A. triumph of authenticity and readability."
-- Washington Post Book World
"[Seidensticker's] translation has the ring of authority."
-- The New York Times Book Review
This is only 1 quarter to 1/3 of the 1200 page original.
As such it loses much of the scope and poetry that made the original so compelling. Read more
It's amazing how so many of the people writing negative reviews on this book are focused on what they see as moral or philosophical content. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2003 by David P Oller
This book disgusted me. I have never read anything so incestuous. 'Tale of Genji' is an overindulgent, horrific story. Read morePublished on Feb. 4 2002
It sure is a women's book; someone is in tears on every other page. Yet it does get through to a common nipponophile like me. Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2000 by Earl Kulp
this was a very intresting and hard book to follow I read it in a class a reading book. It was hard for me to keep up because of the higher vocabulary and high comedy that I did... Read morePublished on April 25 2000 by Andrea Young