Fudoki Hardcover – 20 Oct 2003
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Weaving a haunting story of one being's transformation and journey of discovery with the telling of another's long life set against the backdrop of the courtly rituals of imperial power, this is a powerful novel about the nature of freedom and the redemptive power of transformation.See all Product description
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Already I know that I have to read it again, that I have to read them both again, that both are two of the books that I hold closest to my heart. I love the place that both of these books are from, love the magic, the language, the possibilities, the layers, the richness. I love the images that they make to dance in my head. I love the courage of the small cat-become-woman as she walks through the world to find her Fudoki. Part of the reason it took me so long to open the book, to take the time to read was because I knew that nothing could be as good at The Fox Woman. But I was wrong.
I love the subtle workings and the slight bonds that bind the magic of The Fox Woman to the magic of Fudoki.
And now I know that in the same way that when I see a fox it brings to mind Kitsune I will never see a tortoiseshell cat without thinking of Kagaya-Hime, her extraordinary journey, and wondering how she is. And also remembering this from the book, which reminds me so much of reading, what it is, what it can be...
"I have been fishing in a river a thousand miles from you, eyeing the trout beneath its surface. For some reason this brought you to my mind."
But once I got past the slow pace, I was really impressed with this as a contemplation on place—the idea of one's social place, place as a physical location and the intersection of these ideas that construct our sense of ourselves (Fudoki). Harueme is a princess—daughter, grandaughter, sister and aunt to emperors. But this same high rank (place in society) is a prison of sort, keeping her in her place dreaming of being free, of seeing the world and new places. She is never allowed to escape her place, physical or cultural. While simultaneously, Hime is a cat who has lost her Fudoki, her place and therefore the sense and understand of self that it provided. She spends the whole book looking for a place to be her and her own.
If you're looking for a contemplative read and have any interest in 11th century Japanese culture I recommend picking this one up.