ACROSS THE NIGHTINGALE FLOOR (TALES OF THE OTORI BOOK ONE)
Lian Hearn* (Hodder, 2002) ISBN: 0 7336 1565 1
As a child and teenager, for no discernible reason, I was a total weeabo. I loved Japan. I loved Japanese clothing, I loved learning about Japanese language and culture, and I was determined to go to Japan as soon as I could. I don’t know where this obsession originated. The obvious contenders are Sailor Moon and Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, a tv series and book respectively, which were likely my first encounters with Japan–even though I believe the latter was written by an American. I’ve been to Japan twice now, and I’ve also made a conscious effort to ramp down my adoration because I’ve learned that fetishising cultures like that is not a cool or respectful thing to do. Nonetheless, Across the Nightingale Floor, first in the Tales of the Otori trilogy**, represents a perfect union of three of my great loves–Japanese culture and history (albeit in a fictionalised Japan-like society), fantasy, and beautiful writing.