One of my favorite books in that it describes the background of the Heian Japanese court in the year (more or less) 1000 AD and it is a world as strange to us — also probably to modern Japanese — as any of Jack Vance’s science or speculative fiction. It is in a way wondrous, like science fiction or speculative fiction ought to be. the author researched the universe of those people that lay behind the 11th century Japanese court novel ‘Tale Of Genji’. It would be hard to make this stuff up. When the ladies and gentlemen of the court ride out to the countryside it is as strange to them as it is to us; the life of the peasants toiling away so that they could have their luxurious life, so far removed. the book is fascinating.