Reading progress update: I've read 104 out of 1120 pages.

The Tale of Genji: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) - Royall Tyler, Murasaki Shikibu

Shōnagon remarked while recounting their woes to Koremitsu, “When she is older, I doubt that she will escape the destiny he intends for her, but for the moment his proposition seems to me hopelessly unsuitable; in fact, I cannot even imagine what he means by all the extraordinary things he says. I do not know what to do. Just today His Highness was here, warning us to make sure that he need not worry about her and to keep a proper eye on her at all times. I hardly know which way to turn, and now I worry far more than before about the liberties someone might take with her.” Shōnagon refrained from complaining too pointedly, because she did not wish to give Koremitsu ideas. Koremitsu himself could not make out what she was talking about.

Just a quick note and few thoughts:

 

1. The page count may say I've read 104 pages, but let me tell you that this book is in a larger format than my usual books. This is slow reading. 

 

2. The translation is odd. It's probably close to the original Japanese in many ways, but it takes a lot of getting used to the style. 

 

3. It seems that the style of narration is also distinct by its omissions. It seems that the reader needs to add quite a lot of words or connections. It seems like the words do not necessarily convey all of the meaning. It's so weird.

 

4. I first thought that maybe this is a stupid question but I wanted to know if the character of "Shonagon" is based on the real person Sei Shonagon, the author of The Pillow Book. A quick search on Wikipedia (oh, source of all popular knowledge!) confirms that she indeed is the very lady. Apparently, she was a contemporary and rival(!) of Murasaki Shikibu.

 

From Wiki:

 

"Shōnagon is also known for her rivalry with her contemporary, writer and court lady Murasaki Shikibu, author of The Tale of Genji who served the Empress Shoshi, second consort of the Emperor Ichijō. Murasaki Shikibu wrote about Shōnagon - somewhat scathingly, though conceding Shōnagon's literary gifts - in her diary, The Murasaki Shikibu Diary." 

 

 

5. Genji, our main character. - Jeez. I really don't like Genji.

I don't know how old he is at this time, but he must still be a teenager. He's shagging (or at least trying to) everything that has legs (and consent is not a consideration here), and comes across as an entitled, thoughtless pain in the a***. 

And let me tell you that I am trying to give him ALL the benefit I can give to a guy living a 1000+ years ago in a completely different culture. 

I mean, at this point in the story, Genji is grooming a little girl (no more than ten years old) to grow into his ideal of the perfect woman. (See quote above.)

I'm looking forward for this part of the story to end. Soon. Please.