Kate (kate_nepveu) wrote,

Tale of Genji, chapter 4

This is a very long chapter, but Chad inadvertently gave me a summary when we were talking after I'd finished the chapter:

(All dialogue is paraphrased because I was laughing too hard to memorize or write down anything.)

KATE:  . . . though Genji didn't tell his brother-in-law, for some reason that's not quite clear to me.

CHAD: Well, it would be kind of an awkward conversation, huh? "Dude, so I was boffing your ex in an abandoned villa, and this vengeful ghost was all 'BLEAAAHHHH!' and, well, she died. Sorry about that.

" . . . But hey, I put your daughter in boarding school!"

KATE: *dissolves into laughter*

(Yes, I know To no Chujo's daughter is only two or three, but I hadn't explained that to Chad.)


KATE: It is a silly book.

CHAD: Yet a Japanese cultural classic.

KATE: Which explains a lot.

CHAD: "Go away, Japanese id! You are scary!" [then, suddenly] "BLEAAAHHHH!"

KATE: *dissolves into laughter, again*

(Nb.: "Japanese id" link may prove annoying to manga and anime fans. It's just a great phrase, that's all, and the series in general is pretty good.)

This is why my "in which" is coming last (and belatedly):

Chapter 4, "Evening Faces": In which a vengeful ghost goes "BLEAAAHHHH!"

Okay, more seriously:

  • Transitions, or rather the lack of them. I really noticed the way this chapter moves in time and space without signaling to the reader that it was happening before it did.
  • My edition footnotes that this chapter may have been written out of order, since it refers heavily to a woman we don't really met until chapter 9 (IIRC); this was a relief, since I was like, Rokujo lady? Who?
  • telophase has useful cultural footnotes and a better summary.
  • I like his servant: "At it again, thought Koremitsu. He spoke somewhat tartly. 'I must confess that these last few days I have been too busy with my [dying] mother to think about her neighbors.'"
  • I was sort-of right about last chapter being the end of an arc; he corresponds without rancor with the lady of the locust shell, who he no longer wants.
  • The paragraph that makes it clear Murasaki Shikibu that was posting this as a WIP and getting criticized by her readers:

    I had hoped, out of deference to him, to conceal these difficult matters; but I have been accused of romancing, of pretending that because he was the son of an emperor he had no faults. Now, perhaps, I shall be accused of having revealed too much.

    (Also, and more interestingly, "The stirrings of a susceptible heart suggested that he still had important lessons to learn.")

[ chapter 4 online | more Genji posts ]

Tags: books, tale of genji

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