Tales of the Otori

Ages ago, when I finshed Grass for his Pillow I said that I’d write a better more full review of the great trilogy, Tales of the Otori. This set of books caught my eye in an ad on the tube in Camden. I remember the poster clearly since it’s also the cover of the first book. What attracted me to the actual story wasn’t soo much the poster, but the name of the book.

The first book as called ‘Across the Nightingale Floor’. I remember standing there thinking what a fantastically lyrical name for a book that was. I read the blurb which was something about forbidden love etc, and thought ok, it’s got samurai’s, and a fantastic name, let’s give this book a shot. Needless to say I wasn’t disappointed. The books are written by one Lian Hearn, which is a pseudonym. A friend a work, who we used to talk about books all the time, mentioned the writer was originally a children’s author from Australia, and decided to go for another name to prove that she shouldn’t be categorised as a children’s author alone.

The books are set in a world that resembles Feudal Japan in many ways. The thing is though, it’s not set in Japan. I think this was because Japanese History buffs are fanatics. They’ll remember every minute detail about everything, and call you up on it when/if you go wrong. I guess it would also restrict the story a great deal, as there are some elements of the supernatural in here as well. These are very subtle but add another great layer to the story itself.

The main characters are Takeo and Kaede. It shows their struggle to being with one another in a world mired in tradition, rules and regulations. The story fuses all the ingredients of a good story, mystery, love, war, betrayal and revenge.

There is serious talk of the movie being made, but personally I think you should get these books first. They are very well written books, with a lot of great twists and turns. Now that I’ve finished them I’m a bit sad because I’ve got to wait a while before I find the next set of books that will take my imagination away.

Tales of the Otori:
Book 1 - Across the Nightingale Floor
Book 2 - Grass for his Pillow
Book 3 - Brilliance of the Moon