The Lady and the Monk by Pico Iyer
Four Seasons in Kyoto

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Synopsis

When Pico Iyer decided to go to Kyoto and live in a monastery, he did so to learn about Zen Buddhism from the inside, to get to know Kyoto, one of the loveliest old cities in the world, and to find out something about Japanese culture today -- not the world of businessmen and production lines, but the traditional world of changing seasons and the silence of temples, of the images woven through literature, of the lunar Japan that still lives on behind the rising sun of geopolitical power.

All this he did. And then he met Sachiko.

Vivacious, attractive, thoroughly educated, speaking English enthusiastically if eccentrically, the wife of a Japanese "salaryman" who seldom left the office before 10 P.M., Sachiko was as conversant with tea ceremony and classical Japanese literature as with rock music, Goethe, and Vivaldi. With the lightness of touch that made Video Night in Kathmandu so captivating, Pico Iyer fashions from their relationship a marvelously ironic yet heartfelt book that is at once a portrait of cross-cultural infatuation -- and misunderstanding -- and a delightfully fresh way of seeing both the old Japan and the very new.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Pico Iyer

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Pico Iyer has written nonfiction books on globalism, Japan, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, and forgotten places, and novels on Revolutionary Cuba and Islamic mysticism. He regularly writes on literature for The New York Review of Books, on travel for the Financial Times, and on global culture and the news for Time, The New York Times, and magazines around the world.
 
Published August 10, 2011 by Vintage. 352 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Travel, Religion & Spirituality, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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The mother of two small children, Sachiko is a typical Japanese housewife married to a usually absent businessman who ``was no more affected by her doings than a big boss might be.'' Everything in Sachiko's world has been preordained--she had no career, she's not allowed to travel--and she yearns...

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Publishers Weekly

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Iyer's travelogue about visiting Japan and living in a monastery is subverted by his encounter with a vivacious woman.

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