Why this book?
Fêted essayist and travel scribe Pico Iyer is smitten in this account of his first year living in Japan. He comes to study the mysteries of Zen at a monastery in Kyoto, but the lofty quest doesn’t last long. Everything changes for the young narrator when he meets and falls in love with the lady of the book’s title who would later become his wife. Alongside telling the tale of this budding romance, Iyer delicately shares his wide-eyed discovery of Japan, from the quirky to the sublime, making the book a love letter of sorts to the country itself. Even today, the book’s sense of wonder conjures memories of my own experience arriving in Japan, when I too was charmed by the magic and newness of it all.
The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto
Why should I read it?
2 authors picked The Lady and the Monk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
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.