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The Storyteller and his Three Daughters

Lian Hearn's TALES OF THE OTORI sold over 4 million copies worldwide. Now she brings us a story about storytelling, and about love, intrigue and betrayal.

'While I was disengaging myself from all emotion, audiences were demanding ever more emotional stories, filled with human passion and, shameful or not as it might be, a part of myself still wanted to give them that, to hold them spellbound and leave them thirsting for more.'

Sei is a storyteller. It's 1884 in Tokyo, and for fifty years he has been a master of his art, but now he is starting to wonder if the new world has left him behind. Momentous changes are taking place, and everyone is looking for novelty and excitement. Just when he thinks he will never write again, his own life and the lives of the people around him begin to spiral providing the inspiration for the greatest story he has ever told. A story of love, jealousy, intrigue, and betrayal. At home his daughters' marriages are falling apart, and coming back together again, and in his neighbourhood, he bears witness to a love entanglement so strange and threatening not even his audiences will believe it. Set against the backdrop of Japan's first incursions into Korea and a changing political landscape, Sei offers wise and witty reflections on the perils and delights of storytelling, its lies and, ultimately, its truth.

Conversation with Lian Hearn

What is your background? How does it impact on your writing?
I was born in England and [have since] emigrated to Australia. I think the main influences on my writing were my rather disturbed teenage years (I won't go into details) and studying modern languages (French and Spanish) at Oxford...

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The Otori Series

I had been interested in Japan for years, ever since I was a child really, but I only went there for the first time in 1993. It was while I was there that an idea suggested itself to me - to try to write a fantasy set not in an Anglo-Celtic world but one based on medieval Japan...

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Blossoms and Shadows

This is the story of the birth of modern Japan, told by Tsuru, a young woman who breaks every stereotype of the Japanese lady. We meet her on the day of her sister s wedding, and soon realise that she will not accept the same domestic role that her sister is about to take on...

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Lian Hearn writes...

Between the Darkness and the Light

I’ve written five books in the Tales of the Otori series. It started as a trilogy (Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass for his Pillow and Brilliance of the Moon) but I realised I had more to say about the characters and have written one book (Heaven’s Net is Wide) that ends where Across the Nightingale Floor begins...

Across the Nightingale Floor

A land of incomparable beauty torn by civil war An ancient tradition undermined by spies and assassins A society of rigid castes and codes subverted by love Takeo is raised among the Hidden, whose beliefs forbid them to kill. When his family fall victim to religious persecution at the hands of Lord Iida of the Dairyo clan, he is rescued and adopted by the warrior, Shigeru, of the Otori clan...

Brilliance of the Moon

The powerful conclusion to the Tales of the Otori trilogy. A beautiful, haunting evocation of a time and place just beyond the reach of an outside world, the third and final instalment of the Tales of the Otori transports us once again to a medieval Japan of Hearn s imagination, a land of formal ritual and codes, harsh beauty and deceptive appearance...