Friday, October 14, 2011
Genji: Modish Millennium Man?
As outlined here a couple of entries back, I recently slunk back to Tokyo after three of the most über-intensive days’ traveling in my life, down in the grand old capital city of Kyoto.
Despite a decade living in the newer capital (Tokyo) I'd never actually been to Kyoto before - as inexcusable as that sounds—and it was one of the best jaunts I’ve had in recent years.
At the same time I’d also started to attack a new novel, which has the current title of One Hundred Years of Vicissitude. This is, I stress, the interim title only and - yes - it is partially a cheeky reference to Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude (shhh), though the main character in the novel is a centenarian and there’s a lot of change going on. If I get a letter from Señor Márquez or his lawyers I’ll probably consider also changing the name of the bugger.
Concurrently in my other job (teaching English) I’ve been yacking with a lot with students and friends about a famous 1,000-year-old Japanese tome called The Tale of Genji (源氏物語 Genji Monogatari), and have been itching to run something about it with my mates at Forces of Geek.
Anyway, as they conspire to do, these various things got together and chewed out my brain a bit, resulting in a novel that’s shaping up - in the early stages at least; I’m only up to page 67 - as partially an inane travelogue.
I’ll probably shaft some of the passages, ditch others, find a ghostwriter, and rewrite the remainder. By the way the ghostwriter reference is a pun since a dead man narrates the story. One Hundred Years of Vicissitude is possibly going to be a five percent sequel/prequel of my other novel Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat - and 95 percent something else entirely.
At the moment, in the existing manuscript, this is a section/riff that gets across the whole background of The Tale of Genji so I thought I’d snatch that and share it with you, instead of writing up a fresh article from a journalistic perspective.
To be honest I also hope you don’t mind plodding through to uncover the historical morsels. This is barely edited and unnaturally long-winded stuff at times, plus I’ll probably toss out some of the dialogue/asides if I end up using it in the novel - at all.
If curious and/or at all interested, you can read more @ FOG.