Book Club - The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

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My disappointment is still immeasurable at the fact there’s apparently no fart battles, as depicted in the ancient wall art.

I finished The Tale of Genji and then reread the introduction for closure and summary.

Do the men of this society get any sort of training on how to approach women? Or do they just fail until they get good, like Genji, or give up?

  • First third: Introduction to Genji and his wants.
  • Second third: Genji in control, doing as he pleases.
  • Last third: Genji’s scions mostly failing at the lessons Genji learned but didn’t impart, and one family of sisters’ quest to be left the fuck alone.

The last third was quick and enjoyable, because it has an arc, not too many characters, and all the work from the front of the novel—the society, relationships, courting, acceptable and unacceptable behaviors—are reapplied to new characters.

There’s a 19th Century parody.

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That is fantastic!

I wonder if, since this is the first novel, gokan works are the first “fan fiction”?

When I went to the Genji exhibit at the Met, they had many fan-works on display.


(Yes this is a fucking complete sentence)


It’s been recommended a few times in different places. Might have to search it out.

15 characters of agreement

If someone does a super cut of every mention of Tale of Genji in meta moments, will it last longer than:

A: the episode about the Tale of Genji?

B: the length of time it takes to read the Tale of Genji?


Which book club would take them longer:


How can you say you’re storming through the book and still not even be a quarter of the way into it? OMG just bail on it already and admit you’re not going to ever finish it. It’s fine! Move on! It’s getting embarrassing saying that everyone should read the first ever novel and then not ever actually read it yourselves. Many more enjoyable books await!


Tale of Genji completion:

We should put bets on when they finish it/bail.

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At their current rate my guess is sometime in 2029.

This thread was started 770 days ago. That puts them at .02% completion per day. To finish 81% more of the book, it will take 3,282 more days, finishing on August 13, 2030.

That’s a Tuesday, so we can expect the episode that Thursday. Adding it to my Google calendar.


I’m amused that someone else also did this calculation.

>>> datetime(2019, 7, 10) + (datetime(2021, 8, 18) - datetime(2019, 7, 10)) / 0.19
datetime.datetime(2030, 8, 13, 15, 9, 28, 421053)
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I’m rocketing through it and expect to do the show in September.

Ghosts kill more people than I expected.

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Reread my old unabridged copy that I kept from Japanese Lit in undergrad. It’s been so long since I completed it that I’m anticipating this show to jog my memory (which is surprisingly bad for someone who is only 35).

It’s funny hearing you talk about the malaria business, because that was one of the marginalia i had in different sections (we used the translation from I think the 70s so idk what major differences there are between that and what you guys are using).

There’s also notes I have around mono no aware which iirc probably explains why @SkeleRym said that there’s a feeling of genji sleepwalking his way through life. It’s a very “experiences for experiences’ sake” take on the ephemeral.

Anyway, getting through this book last year was a killer so no shade on it taking y’all so long to complete it. I read Castle of Otranto last year as well, which was written mid-18c, before they developed conventions of novels like, yknow, quotation marks and delineation between internal and external statements haha. Not nearly as difficult as some of the stuff in Genji, like the time jumps being unclear, but older unconventional works take a lot longer to process so the time it’s taken is understandable.

Can’t wait to see your thoughts on Genji, tho!

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It is taking Rym more time to read the Tale of Genji than the entire 15 books in The Wheel of Time.