Grass For His Pillow: Tales of Otori, Book Two

Grass For His Pillow: Tales of Otori, Book Two

by Lian Hearn

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101217245
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/11/2003
Series: Tales of the Otori Series , #2
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 236,217
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

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 Net is Wide—are available now from Riverhead Books. Don't miss the related series, The Tale of Shikanoko.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

”A welcome sequel...deliciously readable. In this new volume, we find ourselves once again transported to a medieval Japan of the imagination: a harsh land ruled by local warlords, an essentially static social order in which family ties bind tightly, a culture that mixes great refinement with unspeakable brutality...Reads like a fine translation from the Japanese.”—The New York Times Book Review

”This is the second installment in Hearn’s trilogy and astonishingly it’s even better than volume one...the emotional power of the story is vastly magnified. Time and destiny are almost tangible in the novel...The beauty, savagery and strangeness of Hearn’s gripping tale is heightened by her exquisite, crystalline prose.”—The Independent on Sunday (UK)

Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION

The extraordinary adventure continues in the second book of the internationally heralded trilogy, Tales of The Otori...

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, one of Book magazine's best novels of the year, and one of School Library Journal's Best Adult Books for High School Readers (2002), Across the Nightingale Floor was an international bestseller and critical success, named "the most compelling novel to have been published this year" by the Times (London). In this second tale, we return to the land of harsh beauty and deceptive appearances where we first met Takeo-the young orphan taken up by the Otori Lord and now a closely held member of the Tribe-and his beloved Shirakawa Kaede, heir to the Maruyama and alone in the world, who must find a way to unify the domain she has inherited. In a complex social hierarchy, amid dissembling clans and fractured allegiances, there is no place for passionate young love. Yet Takeo and Kaede, drawing on their unusual talents and hidden strengths, must make their way in this tale of longing, ambition, and intrigue. Grass for His Pillow is a tantalizing next installment in a brilliantly imaginative and critically acclaimed series.

 


ABOUT LIAN HEARN

Lian Hearn is a pseudonym. The author was born in England, has studied Japanese and has a lifelong interest in Japan.

 


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  • When Kaede admits to Shizuka that it was she, not Takeo, that killed Iida Shizuka is shocked and responds by saying, "Never let anyone know that! Not one of these warriors, not even Arai would let you live" (p. 7 in galley). Why would the warriors or Arai kill Kaede, especially since they were going to kill Iida anyway? What does this say about how women are viewed in this society?
     
  • At the start of the second book it seems that Kaede has evolved from the person she was in Across the Nightingale Floor. For example: she is now willing to appear to submit to those above her, she is able to look men in the eyes, and she says that she feels power in her veins. In fact, after meeting her Fujiwara tells her, "You are very bold for a girl." What can these changes be attributed to? How will they affect her throughout the rest of story? How will these changes impact other characters that Kaede comes in contact with?
     
  • In Takeo's society, the clan that one is born into is the clan that one remains loyal to for a lifetime. Therefore, Takeo should be more loyal to the Tribe or even to the Hidden than to the Otori. Who or what is Takeo most loyal to? What are his loyalties based on? How do his loyalties or disloyalties impact him? Is Takeo's choice of where he places his loyalties a positive or a negative thing for him?
     
  • Throughout the novel, Takeo tricks people into thinking that he is someone else. When he is with the Tribe and must take on the role of a juggler Yuki tells him, "My father also said that you could impersonate well." Though Takeo struggled with hiding his true self when he was younger, he excels at it now. What is it that has allowed Takeo to be such a good impersonator? How is Takeo now able to be someone he isn't?
     
  • Why does Kaede's father feel he must kill her? Is his reasoning based on the fact that she is pregnant, that she is seen as responsible for the deaths of men that desire her, or that all her life her father has desired her himself?
     
  • Compare Shigeru and how he acted as a Lord and Kaede and how she acts as a Lady. Kaede's actions as a Lady begin when she orders soldiers killed and takes their land because they will not remain loyal to her. Would Shigeru have done the same thing? Would Lady Maruyama have acted this way? Is the difference in how they treat their servants and guards based simply on personality or are there other factors that influence how each person must rule?
     
  • When entering Otori while on his mission to find the records that Shigeru kept on the Tribe, Takeo sees a sign that says "The Otori clan welcome the just and the loyal. Let the unjust and the disloyal beware." After reading this Takeo thinks, "unjust and disloyal. I was both: disloyal to Shigeru, who had entrusted his lands to me, and unjust as the Tribe are, unjust and pitiless" (galley pg. 147). Is Takeo's assessment of himself correct? Has he become unjust and disloyal since the death of Shigeru? Are any of his actions justifiable?
     
  • What makes Takeo's crossing of the Nightingale floor at Shigeru's house where he has gone to retrieve the records different than any other time he has crossed a Nightingale floor? Does he have any difficulty crossing the floor this time?
     
  • Arai also seems to change from the first book to the second. In the Book I he is depicted as a hero when he helps Kaede and later when he and his men defeat Iida's men. In Book II however, he is represented as a power hungry warrior. Has Arai changed at all? If so is there a reason for this change in him? Now that he is a ruler, are Arai's actions necessary? Could Shigeru have defeated Iida's men and be a successful ruler without acting how Arai acts?
     
  • Book II ends with the prophecy that Takeo will have five battles ahead of him, four to win and one to loose. Seemingly the one he will loose will be against his own son. What does this say about the power of the clans? Do you think Takeo will die by the hand of his son?
  • Customer Reviews

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    Grass for His Pillow Tales of the Otori Series #2) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This story moves at a fast pace. I really like the two main characters. Their love and devotion to each other is a driving force.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Yes
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    Guest More than 1 year ago
    I really enjoyed Across the Nightengale Floor and was very excited to get a copy of Grass for His Pillow. I have to admit, I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the first (gave this one 4 stars, gave the first 5), but I think that was because this book seems to spend a lot of time setting up for the third book, so there's a lot of detail that doesn't seem as important or interesting as it will probably turn out to be. I'm really excited about the third book and highly recommend the series.
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    This second book was just as amazing as the first book of the Otori Tales. Please ,please read the entire trilogy, they are such beautiful books, you wouldn't want to miss such an astonishing work.Thank you, Lian hearn!!!
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    This book is gloriously beautiful and wonderfully written. It can keep young and old glued to its pages. I can't wait to read the second installment!!
    Guest More than 1 year ago
    It was so hard to put down I read it with in a few hours. The story keeps the reader interested and brings you to sympathize and feel the emotions of the characters.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    good
    ElGatoMO More than 1 year ago
    Excellent read; thouroghly enjoyed it.