Grass For His Pillow

A novel by Lian Hearn, eligible for the 2003-4 OUSFG Award.

"Set in a mythical, feudal Japanese land, a world both beautiful and cruel, this intense love story of two young people takes place against a background of warring clans, famine and treacherous alliances.

Tiny Jo: This book is a follow-up to Across The Nightingle Floor. That book sees Taeko (possibly spelt wrong - sorry!) move from his peaceful existance amongst the Hidden (a small non-violent sect) to the aristocracy and, by the end of the book, into the clutches of the Tribe, a clan with magic-like powers who have their own aims and objectives and demand absolute loyalty. In the process he has met Kaede (about twice) and fallen madly in love with her, which they have consumated after Kaede completes Taeko's task by killing Ilida, the warlord who murdered Taeko's adpotive father and who Kaede was to marry.

So. That's where you are when Grass For His Pillow opens. Taeko, having avenged his adoptive fathers death has been taken by the Tribe, who are determined to indoctrinate him to the same unswerving loyalty all it's other members display. Kaede meanwhile, returns to her home, which she's not seen for years and has to try to put her estate into some kind of order while at the same time coming to terms with what's happened to her and the results of her union with Taeko.

Don't be fooled by the fact that this is often shelved as teenage fiction. It's a brutal, beautiful book. The prose fits the setting perfectly and the book ends up with the feeling of a retelling of an old legend or something of that nature. It's not a long book, but it's dense and gorgeously written. You'd benefit from reading Across the Nightingale Floor first (which is similarly excellent) but it's not absolutely required, I wouldn't say.

Fri, 24 Dec 2004 10:07:35 GMT Front Page Recent Changes Message Of The Day