Night Boat

Night Boat

4.04 (84 ratings on Goodreads)
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Description

My childhood name was Iwajiro, and I was eight years old when I first entered at the gates of hell...One night in eighteenth-century Japan, at the hour of the Ox, a young boy named Iwajiro sits in a state of pure concentration. At the foot of Mount Fuji, behind screen walls and amidst curls of incense smoke Iwajiro chants the Tenjin Sutra, an act of devotion learned from his beloved mother. On the side of the same mountain, twenty years on, he will sit in perfect stillness as the summit erupts, spitting fire and molten rock onto the land around him. This is not the first time he has seen hell. This man will become Hakuin, one of the greatest teachers in the history of Zen. His quest for truth will call on him to defy his father, to face death, to find love and to lose it. He will ask, what is the sound of one hand clapping? And he will master his greatest fear. Night Boat is the story of his tremendous life.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 464 pages
  • 148 x 216 x 42mm | 679.99g
  • Canongate Books Ltd
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 0857868527
  • 9780857868527
  • 1,297,779

About Alan Spence

Alan Spence is an award-winning Scottish poet, playwright, novelist and short story writer. Awards include the Glenfiddich Award, The People's Prize, Macallan Short Story Prize and McVitie Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year. He is Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Aberdeen where he founded the annual WORD Festival in 1999 and was its Artistic Director for 12 years. With his wife he runs the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre in Edinburgh.show more

Review quote

* A brave, ambitious and wonderfully insightful book -- KEVIN MacNEIL, author of THE STORNAWAY WAY * If you've ever wondered about the sound of one hand clapping, this is the novel for you. If you haven't, there's still plenty to enjoy in the poetic writing, rich in historical details, and the drama of the battle between a man's inner and outer lives -- Kate Saunders The Times * A sympathetic, thoughtful chronicle of how we grow and change, how we deal with what makes us suffer, and how our creativity can play in ... Spence's elegant prose, subtle wit and clear passion for his subject make it a rewarding undertaking -- Hannah McGill Scotsman * One of Scotland's most accomplished literary talents -- JOHN BURNSIDE The Times * Spence is a visionary -- ALI SMITH * Old Hakuin would be beating his drum! -- NORMAN WADDELL * Not merely an engaging and vivid historical novel, but also a meditative work of art that is as finely honed as a samurai's sword -- John Burnside The Times, on THE PURE LAND * Rattles along, grounded in historical research and filled with emotional truths Daily Mail on THE PURE LAND * Astonishing in its breadth, depth and ambition ... a beautifully written modern epic Irish Independent on THE PURE LAND * There are lush descriptions of the Japanese countryside and Mount Fuji: "changeless, ever changing, always different, always the same". And interspersed throughout are the elegant poems of Hakuin (such as the haiku that inspired his name, which means "hidden-in-whiteness": "Miss Fuji, / Cast aside your hazy robe / And show me your snowy skin"). Graceful yet sparse, they add texture to this intriguing novel -- Beth Jones Telegraph * Night Boat has charm and darkness, calm poetry and lava. It is about storytelling, words on the page, the scroll or screen, of how to write a life Sunday Mailshow more

Our customer reviews

I really enjoyed this book on the life of the Zen master, Hakuin. Though he lived in the 18th Century the wisdom embodied in this account of his life story is relevant to seekers of truth today. I have personally drawn much inspiration from reading Night Boat and I am sure many of the incidents from this book will stay with me for a long time.show more
by Pushpendra Uppal
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