on 8 September 2010
This book presents a breadth of detail that remains faithful to the ancient text, with the clarity and simplicity that only comes from a deep understanding.
The author expects this slim, practical book to be read interactively. It is presented as a Book of Change: to be read in the pursuit of the wisest, most effective way of living in the world. In my experience, allowing ourselves to change under its guidance does enable us to live more skilfully. Mrs Barrett offers realistic suggestions on how to "walk this path". There are sections on framing good questions, the mechanics of consulting the oracle, how to hear its response and on integrating what we learn into our lives. Each of the hexagrams includes a "Key Questions" section which help in this process.
I have many books on the Yijing and this treatment is among the clearest. Alongside the core Zhou text she includes a useful selection of the additional texts showing what the ancient Chinese felt it meant. I particularly liked the brief yet evocative trigram descriptions, giving these possibly obscure notions an intuitive shape and some relationship with each other.
Mrs Barrett's translation is in simple English, but not so simplified as to obscure the original imagery. For instance, we don't often come across carts whose axles have come untied, or foxes getting their tails wet crossing a river. But these word pictures are rarely so foreign as to be incomprehensible and she offers adequate explanation when they are. As a result the text is both accessible and evocative, with enough meat to keep the reader thinking, until how the underlying wisdom applies to the reader's question becomes clear.
This edition makes a good introduction to the I Ching. Yet there is also enough food for thought in this modern treatment to make it an excellent companion to more traditional translations.
on 10 January 2011
This is a great book and I'd highly recommend it to anyone with a wish to get much closer to the true, unique meanings of their answers from the I Ching.
It is written very clearly and simply yet none of the breadth and beauty of the Oracle is lost. The author brings much lucidity to a text that is often seen as obscure and hard to apply to the problems we face in the modern world. This book manages to bridge that gap beautifully.
Rather than flatly describe 'meanings' or fall into formulaic commentary the author seems to facilitate a live dialogue between oneself and the I Ching. One feels invited into all the possibilities of ones own reading. Meanings and interpretations are not finalised or closed down as they are in many I Ching books, rather they are opened up. One finds the book enables one to think more about ones answer, to make ones own connections, so it is a book that encourages a very individual, living connection with the Oracle.
This book truly provides a valuable new link between the I Ching and how we live our lives today. I'd say it was an essential buy for anyone consulting the I Ching whether beginner or seasoned user. It is also a very attractive well laid out book which makes it even better value !
on 15 February 2011
I think the two previous reviewers have summed things up very well.
This book is an absolute blessing! it bridges the gaps between
the traditional and often rather difficult to understand texts
(if you are still a novice like myself) and condenses the original
interpretations into a thoroughly useable point of reference *without*
turning it into a modern translation which loses the soul and
beauty of early teachings.
I have already gained a whole new insight into the meanings of
the positions of the six lines and this has transformed my readings!
The book is also a very lovely thing indeed and I know Hilary has
put a lot of love into this.
A lady of true integrity, thank you for making this book happen!
on 31 October 2012
I wanted a good copy of the I Ching I could enjoy, a translation that was readable and practical. I read the reviews carefully, and chose this one, and I have not been disappointed. In fact, it is better than I could have imagined. I have had it a few months now, and the more I read it the more engaged I feel with it. The translation is lively and accessible, and makes sense, also the introduction to how to read it and some of the basic background to the trigrams is very useful. Excellent, thank you to the author for producing this book.