Gossipy and poignant and delightful in equal measure. To be nibbled in small bites, not gulped.—Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
The classic portrayal of court life in tenth-century Japan
Written by the court gentlewoman Sei Shōnagon ostensibly for her own amusement, The Pillow Book offers a fascinating exploration of life among the nobility at the height of the Heian period, describing the exquisite pleasures of a confined world in which poetry, love, fashion, and whim dominated, while harsh reality was kept firmly at a distance. Moving elegantly across a wide range of themes including nature, society, and her own flirtations, Sei Shōnagon provides a witty and intimate window on a woman's life at court in classical Japan.