Tale of Murasaki
By Liza Dalby
"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."