The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

     Written approximately the year 1000 and considered to be the first novel ever, this Japanese masterpiece clocks in at over a thousand pages, making it an ambitious read indeed.  Yet to read it is to enter the rarified world of the Heian court and all its romantic intrigue.  Filled with amorous adventures, bed-hopping, adultery, secret lovers, and loads of travel, too, The Tale of Genji reminded me of British picaresque novels such as Tom Jones.  Anyone considering tackling this monumental work should check out the website http://www.taleofgenji.org .  The photography alone makes a visit to this beautiful and useful site worthwhile.

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