Thursday, April 5, 2007

Top 10 books set in Japan

Fiona Campbell, author of the forthcoming novel, Death of a Salaryman, named her top 10 books set in Japan for the Guardian.

Number One on her list:
The Tale of Genji by Shikibu Murasaki

Genji is the son of a Japanese emperor. Although beautiful and extraordinarily gifted, he is destined to be kept from the throne by virtue of his birth to a low-ranking woman. The Tale of Genji is the story of his life and loves (of which there are plenty). There are at least two reasons why this book deserves to be number one on this list. It is thought to be the first novel ever written - it was produced just after 1000 AD. And the author was a woman - an aristocrat who, unusually for the time, was raised and educated by her father.
Read Campbell's full list.

Why Japan?
"I fell in love with Japanese fiction after reading Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto," [Campbell] explains. "I was 21 at the time and immediately went on to read many more of her books. For me they were about the chance encounters between strangers that can touch lives, and the miraculous events scattered throughout daily existence. Next I discovered Haruki Murakami, where characters disappeared, questions went unanswered, the bizarre was commonplace. I was very much influenced by these two authors and tried to capture something of what they do in Death of a Salaryman."
--Marshal Zeringue