Read Across The Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn Free Online
Book Title: Across The Nightingale Floor|
The author of the book: Lian Hearn
ISBN 13: 9780330493345
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 339 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2458 times
Reader ratings: 6.9
Date of issue: July 6th 2003
Read full description of the books:
Okay. I'll try to be as kind and heartfelt as possible. This book is insultingly bad. Normally a bad book is just that, but this book is actually infuriatingly bad.
Firstly, it's a fantasy book set in feudal Japan. That's fine. I would think that it being set in Japan, Hearn would have learned anything about the place, but she apparently did not. This book is written as if Hearn simply googled Japan and then decided to write a book on it. I'll go down the list of failings.
Religion Japan wasn't Christian. It persecuted Christianity in the same way that Rome did; it's teachings undermined the ruling order. But in Hearn's world everyone is predominantly Christian, or at least they worship a god an awful lot like the Christian god; like looking down on suicide, which was a part of the way of life in Japan. So, okay, Hearn didn't do that justice; base a book of a land and F up their religion, okay. But this is the least of her offenses.
Language Other novels written about or in Japan (Shogun, to name one) have tried to successfully capture the way people spoke; saying one thing and meaning another. Hearn tries to do this... I think. It's hard to tell because it is so blunt but she implies that they are saying something else. I guess. Either way the dialogue is awful. There is a two-page dialogue about a characters past that is painfully bad. It isn't emotional, even the character seems to know this, and it isn't realistic. The conversations are flat and would fail if they were imitating normal conversation, in that they should be trying for feudal speech they fail astoundingly.
Terrain/Geography/History This is pretty hard to F up but Hearn does it anyway. She apparently read somewhere that Japan gets a lot of earthquakes, so the characters experience them, constantly. This would be informative of the climate and area, but it isn't - it's irritating. All it does is randomly distract from the story. The characters are talking about something and then the author stops to make everything shake, then everyone has to acknowledge the quake, then we resume. Maybe that's real, but it's also retarded. Include the quakes in exposition, don't stop the story to put them in. Realism only goes so far in books. If we had to read every time a character took a piss it wouldn't be interesting either. Now there is the infamous battle of Yaegahara from her book... which is clearly just a ripoff of the real battle of Sekigahara. The infuriating thing is that she uses the feuds, anger, and tension that came from the battle of Sekigahara but apparently didn't want to learn anything about it. Yeah, spending an afternoon researching battles and actual lords would have been so tough. It's insulting to every reader that she would be so lazy as to simply slap a 'Yae' in front of gahara and imitate such an important battle. How about a Japanese person writes a story about America and they talk about the bombing of Mearl Harbor? Or the Bivil War? Gimme a break. If you don't put the time into the work you don't deserve to have the job. Nuff said.
Culture I'll just sum up the undulating wave of crap that she wrote under this category as culture. Hearn mentions the tea ceremony and Sesshu to add some sense of where the crap we are, but fails in both. The tea ceremony is highly regarded and ceremonial. It is obvious to anyone that knows anything about it that Hearn has no clue about it. So she simply puts a few ideas in and then assumes job well done. Or not. She does the same with Sesshu, a feudal artist. She drops him in and then completely inaccurately describes his artwork. Secondly, the characters act in no way as they would befitting their setting. Evidently Hearn has no clue about the hierarchy in Japan or how much different it was there than most anywhere else. Peasants were dirt to samurai. Samurai were the dogs of their lords, or daimyo. Or not. Hearn has everyone acting as if they grew up during the 1960's in America and freedom of speech is going strong. People constantly belittle lords, sons of lords, and people of higher rank. Speaking of samurai - THEY ARE CALLED SAMURAI! Why is it Hearn refuses to use the proper names for half of the things she is writing about? She will use fief to describe a lords power despite the fact that the average reader has no idea what a fief is, yet she won't use words like samurai, ninja, ninpo, ninja-to, and ninjitsu even though it's what THE BOOK IS ABOUT. It's as if Hearn was struck by some bizarre fear of using the actual words for anything. Normally this would just irk me, but it is to the point where misunderstanding is common. For example: The wooden training sword is called a boken not a pole. Those are completely different things. Hearn's lack of ability to describe anything leaves the reader with only the words she gives them, so when she says 'two people fight with poles' that is what we see. If she actually meant everyone fights with poles then... ugh, she really would have no clue what she is talking about.
Historical Fiction This is not. It is hardly set in Japan. It is set in a place where they use the names of people from Japan. That is about it. The rest of this is the same fantasy garbage that proliferates the genre. And really, if you are going to base a fantasy world off of Japan then it should be pretty similar to it, otherwise why do it? You just like everyone looking Asian?
So, aside from the fact that Hearn fails terribly at representing the people she set out to, how's the rest of the book?
The characters are weak with unoriginal histories that are not spiced up in the least bit. The love is 'at first sight' which is the trademark of lazy writing. Why bother having to develop feelings when you can just say it was at first sight? Gimme a break. The hero, despite being written in 1st person, is remarkably flat. The beginning has him discovering his destroyed village and yet he seems pretty unperturbed by it. Later he feels something. Sort of.
So, crappy characters. What else? Oh, everyone knows things that would be impossible for them to know just to move the story along and build superficial tension. For example: How the hell does a monk living in a temple in the forest know that the main character has acute hearing? Another: How is it everyone and their mom knows the main character is part of some assassin tribe by looking at him? Was his dad Elvis Presley and he looks just like him? I'm pretty sure assassins thing is to be unseen, but I guess that wouldn't make things tense, right Hearn?
The prose is weak and most of the story takes place in exposition. They traveled here, they did this, and we are witness to very few of the actual happenings. What results is nothing that anyone really cares about.
The only thing that bothers me more about having actually read this book is that anyone thought it was well-written, and worse, that it was awarded with anything. This is an insult to literature and I have very little hope left if this is what most people find 'good'.
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Read information about the authorLian Hearn's beloved Tales of the Otori series, set in an imagined feudal Japan, has sold more than four million copies worldwide and has been translated into nearly forty languages. It is comprised of five volumes: ACROSS THE NIGHTINGALE FLOOR, GRASS FOR HIS PILLOW, BRILLIANCE OF THE MOON, THE HARSH CRY OF THE HERON and HEAVEN'S NET IS WIDE. The series was followed by two standalone novels, BLOSSOMS AND SHADOWS and THE STORYTELLER AND HIS THREE DAUGHTERS, also set in Japan.
Hearn's forthcoming series: The Tale of Shikanoko will be published by FSG in 4 volumes in 2016. Book 1 will be EMPEROR OF EIGHT ISLANDS out in late-April 2016, followed by book 2: AUTUMN PRINCESS, DRAGON CHILD (June), book 3: LORD OF THE DARKWOOD (August), and the final book (#4) THE TENGU'S GAME OF GO (late-Sept. 2016).
Lian has made many trips to Japan and has studied Japanese. She read Modern Languages at Oxford and worked as an editor and film critic in England before immigrating to Australia.
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