Across The Nightingale Floor: Tales Of The Otori Book One

Paperback | June 3, 2003

byLian Hearn

not yet rated|write a review
An international bestseller, Across the Nightingale Floor is the first book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn. Don't miss the related series, The Tale of Shikanoko.

In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.

The youth Takeo has been brought up in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who have taught him only the ways of peace. But unbeknownst to him, his father was a celebrated assassin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with extraordinary, preternatural skills. When Takeo's village is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru. Under the tutelage of Shigeru, he learns that he too possesses the skills of the Tribe. And, with this knowledge, he embarks on a journey that will lead him across the famed nightingale floor—and to his own unimaginable destiny...

Pricing and Purchase Info

$16.91 online
$17.00 list price
In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25
Prices may vary. why?
Please call ahead to confirm inventory.

From the Publisher

An international bestseller, Across the Nightingale Floor is the first book in the Tales of the Otori series by Lian Hearn. Don't miss the related series, The Tale of Shikanoko.In his black-walled fortress at Inuyama, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread o...

Lian Hearn is the pseudonym for the writer Gillian Rubinstein, currently living in Australia, who has a lifelong interest in Japan, has lived there, and speaks Japanese. All five books in the Tales of the Otori series—Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass for His Pillow, Brilliance of the Moon, The Harsh Cry of the Heron, and Heaven's Ne...

other books by Lian Hearn

Shikanoko Livre 1 L'enfant Du Cerf
Shikanoko Livre 1 L'enfant Du Cerf

Paperback|Feb 8 2017

$23.95

Emperor Of The Eight Islands: Book 1 In The Tale Of Shikanoko
Emperor Of The Eight Islands: Book 1 In The Tale Of Shi...

Paperback|Apr 26 2016

$10.28 online$19.50list price(save 47%)
Autumn Princess, Dragon Child: Book 2 In The Tale Of Shikanoko
Autumn Princess, Dragon Child: Book 2 In The Tale Of Sh...

Paperback|Jun 7 2016

$16.02 online$19.50list price(save 17%)
see all books by Lian Hearn
Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8 × 5.2 × 0.8 inPublished:June 3, 2003Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1573223328

ISBN - 13:9781573223324

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of Across The Nightingale Floor: Tales Of The Otori Book One

Reviews

Extra Content

Bookclub Guide

INTRODUCTIONThis first book in a new epic trilogy has already become a bestselling sensation in England and Australia, earning comparisons to Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It begins with Legend of a Nightingale Floor in a black-walled fortress—a floor that sings in alarm at the step of an assassin. It will take all the skills of an ancient Tribe, and all the passion of true courage, for one orphaned youth named Takeo to discover the magical destiny that awaits him...across the nightingale floor.ABOUT LIAN HEARNLian Hearn is a pseudonym. The author was born in England, has studied Japanese and has a lifelong interest in Japan. A CONVERSATION WITH LIAN HEARNI started writing Across the Nightingale Floor with the four main characters in my head and the opening sentence in Takeo’s voice. I was in Akiyoshidai International Arts Village in Yamaguchi Prefecture; it was a damp, humid afternoon in September. The light was pale and opalescent. Water trickled from the pools around the artists’ residence, carp splashed and occasionally a kingfisher swooped above the pool. I was writing in a notebook with a black gel pen I’d bought in Himeji. I wrote ‘My mother used to threaten to tear me limb from limb.’ Later I changed this to ‘into eight pieces’. I occasionally like to use Japanese idioms translated literally to give the feeling that the book is not written in English.For many years before I had steeped myself in Japanese history and literature, reading widely, watching films, studying the language. Now I had several weeks alone in Japan in this idyllic place; the challenge was to see if I could bring to life what had lain within my mind all that time.Slowly the world of the Otori began to evolve. I often went to Hagi, the old castle town of the Choshuu clan. I visited samurai houses and looked at artefacts in museums. I walked in the mountains behind the arts village, through the rice fields and by the river. Everywhere I tried to picture how my characters might have lived five hundred years ago. When people spoke to me I had to listen intently, using my ears as I had not done since I was a child. I heard everything but was more or less mute myself. So Takeo became.I became addicted to gel pens and bought them by the handful. I carried my notebook with me and wrote on the road, on trains and planes and in waiting rooms. I was in Fukuoka when the entire ending of the book fell into place. I could hardly contain my excitement and emotion, yet actually to write it was painfully difficult.In Japanese art and literature I am fascinated by the use of silence and asymmetry. I like the concept of ma: the space between that enables perception to occur. I wanted to see if I could use silence in writing. So the style is spare, elliptical and suggestive. What is not said is as important as what is stated.I am interested in feudalism. Whenever democracy and the rule of law break down human societies seem to revert to feudalism. I wanted to write a ‘fantasy’ set in a feudal society, but I wanted to write about real people whose emotions are all the more intense for being restrained by the codes of their society. There are no traditional villains in my story though there are antagonists. Iida Sadamu and Otori Shigeru are from the same class and background. Iida has been corrupted by power, whereas Shigeru is compassionate by nature but essentially they are the same. One is not a monster, the other not a super-hero. My characters seek power, they are flawed and they make mistakes, but they love life and grasp everything it has to offer.I had intended to write only one book but long before the first book was finished it became obvious to me that the story I had been given would not be contained by it. It seemed to fall naturally into three parts but was written without a break as one overarching story. I wrote it all out longhand in four large notebooks between September 1999 and April 2001. From June 2001 to March 2002 I rewrote onto the computer. In the second half of this period Across the Nightingale Floor, which I finished in September 2001, was going through the editorial process: hardly a sentence was changed in any of its editions. DISCUSSION QUESTIONSRevenge is a motivating factor for many of the actions of the characters throughout the book. As Takeo recalls how he knocked Iida from his horse he admits his prior ignorance of revenge, "I knew nothing of the wars of the clans, nothing of their rigid codes and their feuds. I had spent my whole life among the Hidden who are forbidden to kill and taught to forgive each other. But at that moment Revenge took me as a pupil" (pg. 7). In this situation revenge is a more powerful force than Takeo's religious beliefs. Does revenge continue to override all of Takeo's other emotions throughout the rest of the book? What other emotions motivate Takeo throughout the story? Upon meeting Shigeru, Takeo is told to change his name from Tomasu to Takeo. In remembering this Takeo says, "And so between the waterfall and the top of the mountain I lost my name, became someone new, and joined my destiny with the Otori" (p. 10). Besides protection why else does Shigeru think Takeo should change his name? Does changing his name affect Takeo's sense of who he is? A little while later, Takeo observes that others can still tell that he is a member of the Hidden. Takeo is surprised by this and admits, "I thought I had buried my old self along with my name, Tomasu" (pg. 18). When Takeo is finally able to truly disguise his Hidden identity from others has he buried his former identity from himself as well? Discuss the role of dissembling in the novel, and the ease or difficulty with which characters can change their identities. Takeo's loyalty expands beyond one tribe to three: the Hidden, the Otori, and the Tribe. Sometimes those loyalties will conflict with one another. Will Takeo ever be able to become his own person and make his own decisions or will his actions always reflect his loyalties? And can he exist with conflicting loyalties? Does society even allow one to make his own decisions? Takeo's final mission is to kill Iida in order to avenge the death of Shigeru. However, though Iida dies, Takeo is not the person who kills him. Does this bother Takeo? Is his mission still successful? Does the fact that everyone thinks that Takeo killed Iida make Takeo feel better or worse? Lady Maruyama becomes a role model for Kaede because she possesses traits that Kaede never expected a woman to have. Kaede is immediately drawn to Lady Maruyama and desperate for her approval. How is Lady Maruyama able to possess these traits in a society where women are seen as inferior to men? What gives Lady Maruyama her strength? Eventually Kaede finds out that Lord Otori, to whom she is betrothed, is in love with Lady Maruyama. How does Kaede feel knowing that the man she is to marry loves another woman, whom she herself admires? Shigeru makes many personal sacrifices for the good of the Otori. He even forfeits his happiness with Lady Maruyama to marry Kaede and eventually gives his life for the Otori. What does Takeo learn from Shigeru's actions? What does he himself give up? What does Jato represent to Takeo? Why is the sword so important and powerful to him? Do you think Takeo be able to avenge Shigeru's death in the next book? What trials do you imagine await him in his quest? Do you think he will ever have the power that Shigeru possessed?

Editorial Reviews

"Satisfyingly rich in incident yet admirably spare in the telling...Hearn has created a world I anticipate returning to with pleasure."—The New York Times Book Review"The most compelling novel to have been published this year."—The Times (London)"The most extraordinary novel...The passion and rapture of this story is so compelling that it's almost worth delaying your holiday for."—The Independent on Sunday (UK)"Complex...fast-paced, arousing adventure reminiscent of Arthurian legend that's told with all the urgency of a modern-day thriller."—Book Magazine"Across the Nightingale Floor is as exciting a debut as any in recent years—part Shogun, part Lord of the Flies and entirely enchanting."—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel