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The Tale of Murasaki

A Novel
Narrated by: Allison Hiroto
Length: 17 hrs and 25 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

The Tale of Murasaki is an elegant and brilliantly authentic historical novel by the author of Geisha and the only Westerner ever to have become a geisha.

In the 11th century Murasaki Shikibu wrote the world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji, the most popular work in the history of Japanese literature. In The Tale of Murasaki, Liza Dalby has created a breathtaking fictionalized narrative of the life of this timeless poet - a lonely girl who becomes such a compelling storyteller that she is invited to regale the empress with her tales. The Tale of Murasaki is the story of an enchanting time and an exotic place. Whether writing about mystical rice fields in the rainy mountains or the politics and intrigue of the royal court, Dalby breathes astonishing life into ancient Japan.

©2000 Liza Dalby (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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Profile Image for CMM
  • CMM
  • 02-12-17

A favorite book

Heian period Cuture, Waka poetry, and a good story. I love that the narrator reads the poetry in both languages.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Epiphany
  • Epiphany
  • 05-06-18

Great book, reader lacked emotion

I was disappointed with this audible book. I read The Tale of Murasaki years ago and it became one of my very favorite books but the audio book left me cold. The reader is very clear but lacks any real emotion, which is sad because the book features such beautiful poetry and descriptive prose. They’re lost in this version. She reads the heroine’s early years on a very matter of fact fashion and that tragic beauty is lost in her story.

I recommend the book but the Audible will leave you cold.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jocelyn
  • 01-05-18

Life's universal mysteries & ancient Japans cultur

Beautiful words poems and imagery woven throughout a gentle plot. Superb narration. A dreamscape. Unique

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • resc
  • 12-09-17

Excellent

Such an excellent story. The Tale of Murasaki is beautifully written with exquisite language and poetry.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cheryl Claussen
  • 26-06-17

The Tale of Murasaki

This has been a very interesting and delightful book. The text, including poetry, is beautiful and the narrator's reading in English and Japanese, makes this a must read for anyone who enjoys historical literary works.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Gail
  • 12-01-17

Tedius and slow

I struggled to get through this book. While competent the narrator childlike voice became grating. Maybe some appreciated the lapses into Japanese i found it a huge distraction and interrupted the flow of the story line . I had high hopes but all in all this book left me flat.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Katherine S.
  • 29-04-15

Perfect to relax with

Great book and great reading. I thought her voice sounded very appropriate for the content, and then hearing her effortlessly switch to Japanese was lovely. All together a very soothing, relaxing and engaging audio book.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Cher Holt-Fortin
  • 19-07-14

Less than I expected

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The narrator sounds like a valley girl and mispronounces words. The author uses words that jar, such as "preacher" for Buddhist priests. the Japanese sounds good, but I don't speak Japanese. In all a disappointment.

Would you recommend The Tale of Murasaki to your friends? Why or why not?

No. It just doesn't work.

Would you be willing to try another one of Allison Hiroto’s performances?

Not for a book set long ago. I can see her narrating a modern book.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The use of the poems echoes Murasaki's work nicely. And the details of 12th century court life are good.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-10-19

A Lot Happens

The first half of this novel is compelling, ornate, and thought-provoking. The second half drones on, with little aim and no rising action to speak of. The title character becomes repetitive in her self-absorption and her detachment from the world (for religious purposes) isn’t moving or natural - though it could have been used to invite meaningful introspection. The recurring theme of life’s transient nature is kept abstract, and it could have been more powerful if used as a lens through which the title character viewed her personal relationships.

The narrator has a lovely voice except for when it comes to dialogue, and then it sounds deflated and awkward.

If you’re interested in a day to day depiction of classical Japan, you’ll enjoy this. If you’re looking for a gripping drama to unfold like Arthur Golden’s novel that it’s often compared to, you won’t find that after the first half.