Regular price: £21.99

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Basket

Summary

A thriller and love story set in 10th-century Japan. 

Lady Shonagon is an imperial courtesan, living at the court of the Japanese Emperor in the 10th century. When a series of disturbing thefts within the palace walls throws the court into confusion and unrest, Shonagon is appointed guide and assistant to Lieutenant Yukinari as he investigates. 

Together, Shonagon and Yukinari must solve the mysteries and escalating crimes that plague the Japanese court, and their romance blossoms in the tightly enclosed world behind the high palace walls. But soon Shonagon's lover Tadanobu becomes uncomfortable with how closely they are working together....

The Pillow Book is inspired by the writings of Sei Shonagon, a poet and lady-in-waiting to the empress of the 10th-century Japanese court. The work of the real-life Sei Shonagon consists of essays, lists, anecdotes, poems, and descriptive passages about her daily life. 

This full-cast drama stars Ruth Gemmell as Sei Shonagon, with Yukinari played by Mark Bazeley in series 1-3 and Cal Macaninch in series 4-11. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Tadanobu in series 1. 

Directed by Lu Kemp.

©2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    22
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    24
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

True Sei Shonagon‘s Diary from 10th Century Japan

A finely produced well acted drama from the diary of Sei Shonagon a Lady in Waiting at Court in 10th Century Japan. Over eleven hours of entertainment. Well out of my usual comfort zone but still interesting, Everything is here; corruption, love, jealousy,murder & social injustice, truth, lies, and mind games. A journey about life, strength of mind, thought and belief set in the claustraphobic world of the Heian culture a thousand years ago in 965. A lot to get ones teeth into, mind working and exercised. Not for everyone and not something for relaxing. Different. I am now reading Sei Shanogans diary “The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon”. Fascinating being able to read the thoughts of and life experience seen through the eyes of a woman who lived a thousand years ago.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely enthralling and so beautiful.

The cast are exceptional and the story is a magical mirror viewing into imperial Japan. I wish there was a sequel!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

perseverance furthers 👎

or not in this case. I note that this was issued in a series of 11 which probably accounts for the sheer length and tedium. I dragged myself to the bitter end with no reprieve which is probably why I am so irritated as I paid full price.

it may have Benedict Cumberbatch but the heroine was read on a flat dreary monotone which still haunts me.

if you like Japanese poetry or lists you might like this book as it is stuffed with the stuff, 11 series worth. did I mention the plot? forgotten it already. no, I will not listen to it again. yes, it will be binned.

PS try Judge Dee




1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Atmospheric

Loved it in short sessions. Very atmospheric and almost mesmerising. The voices are perfect and I particularly like lady Shonigon's lists.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

starts well enough...

but becomes increasingly tedious fading to nothing. listen to the first half and then stop

1 of 2 people found this review helpful