Excerpt from Grass For His Pillow by Lian Hearn, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Grass For His Pillow

Tales of The Otori, Book 2

by Lian Hearn

Grass For His Pillow
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2003, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2004, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"What is it?" Shizuka heard the movement and ran to her side. Kaede looked at Shizuka and saw the deep concern in her eyes. She realized how precious this woman had become to her-her closest, indeed her only friend.

"Nothing. A half-dream."

"Are you all right? How do you feel?"

"I don't know. I feel..." Kaede's voice died away. She gazed at Shizuka for several moments. "Have I been asleep all day? What happened to me?"

"He shouldn't have done it to you," Shizuka said, her voice sharp with concern and anger.

"It was Takeo?"

Shizuka nodded. "I had no idea he had that skill. It's a trait of the Kikuta family."

"The last thing I remember is his eyes. We gazed at each other and then I fell asleep."

After a pause Kaede went on: "He's gone, hasn't he?"

"My uncle, Muto Kenji, and the Kikuta master Kotaro came for him last night," Shizuka replied.

"And I will never see him again?" Kaede remembered her desperation the previous night, before the long, deep sleep. She had begged Takeo not to leave her. She had been terrified of her future without him, angry and wounded by his rejection of her. But all that turbulence had been stilled.

"You must forget him," Shizuka said, taking Kaede's hand in hers and stroking it gently. "From now on, his life and yours cannot touch."

Kaede smiled slightly. I cannot forget him, she was thinking. Nor can he ever be taken from me. I have slept in ice. I have seen the White Goddess.

"Are you all right?" Shizuka said again, with urgency. "Not many people survive the Kikuta sleep. They are usually dispatched before they wake. I don't know what it has done to you." "It hasn't harmed me. But it has altered me in some way. I feel as if I don't know anything--as if I have to learn everything anew."

Shizuka knelt before her, puzzled, her eyes searching Kaede's face. "What will you do now? Where will you go? Will you return to Inuyama with Arai?"

"I think I should go home to my parents. I must see my mother. I'm so afraid she died while we were delayed in Inuyama for all that time. I will leave in the morning. I suppose you should inform Lord Arai."

"I understand your anxiety," Shizuka replied, "but Arai may be reluctant to let you go."

"Then I shall have to persuade him," Kaede said calmly. "First I must eat something. Will you ask them to prepare some food? And bring me some tea, please."

"Lady." Shizuka bowed to her and stepped off the veranda. As she walked away Kaede heard the plaintive notes of a flute played by some unseen person in the garden behind the temple. She thought she knew the player, one of the young monks from the time when they had first visited the temple to view the famous Sesshu paintings, but she could not recall his name. The music spoke to her of the inevitability of suffering and loss. The trees stirred as the wind rose, and owls began to hoot from the mountain.

Shizuka came back with the tea and poured a cup for Kaede. She drank as if she were tasting it for the first time, every drop having its own distinct, smoky flavor against her tongue. And when the old woman who looked after guests brought rice and vegetables cooked with bean curd, it was as if she had never tasted food before. She marveled silently at the new powers that had been awakened within her.

"Lord Arai wishes to speak with you before the end of the day," Shizuka said. "I told him you were not well, but he insisted. If you do not feel like facing him now, I will go and tell him again."

"I am not sure we can treat Lord Arai in that fashion," Kaede said. "If he commands me, I must go to him."

"He is very angry," Shizuka said in a low voice. "He is offended and outraged by Takeo's disappearance. He sees in it the loss of two important alliances. He will almost certainly have to fight the Otori now, without Takeo on his side. He'd hoped for a quick marriage between you-"

From Grass For His Pillow: Tales of the Otori Part Two by Lian Hearn © August 2003 , Riverhead Books used by permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

Raw, emotionally intelligent and unflinchingly honest--a triumph.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.