Author(s): Alan Spence
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.
Set under the skies of eighteenth-century Japan, Night Boat is a tale of fear, devotion and the power of the spirit against all odds
* A brave, ambitious and wonderfully insightful book -- Kevin Macneil, Author Of The Stornaway Way * One of Scotland's most accomplished literary talents -- The Times * Spence is a visionary -- Ali Smith * 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
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.