The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0117 Wednesday, 20 March 2013
Date: March 20, 2013 8:24:50 AM EDT
Subject: Juliet is the Sun
Dear SHAKSPER members,
Under the pseudonym Gemma Nishiyama, I have written a novel entitled Juliet is the Sun, about Viola, “shipwrecked” after fleeing the Fukushima nuclear accident for the mountains of Western Japan. Leaving her estranged husband back in the north, and facing an uncertain future, Viola believes her life has been a failure. But the ghost of Shakespeare appears in her life and things dramatically improve.
Saying “my way is to conjure you” (a line from As You Like It) the ghost stages performances for her. Viola thus learns that a mystery, a hidden identity of a mysterious figure who needs to be acknowledged, lies concealed in one of Shakespeare’s plays. She reaches out to a professor of Renaissance philosophy at the local university for some historical background and perspective. Viola’s estranged husband Kazuo, another academic, also gets drawn into the mystery.
Like The DaVinci Code, Juliet is the Sun reveals that a major artwork has been concealing an important secret for centuries—in plain sight! (Indeed, the best secrets are always the ones hiding in plain sight!)
As a basic interpretive framework, I have used the original research I published (under my real name) relating to the concept of a cosmic and solar energy-related secret play in Romeo and Juliet. A few other plays (Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Much Ado About Nothing) are also shown in the course of the novel to also be Renaissance puzzle boxes that use this secret (Hermetic) solar structure.
The name and philosophical importance (to Shakespeare) of a natural philosopher who was executed in Rome by the Catholic Church for heresy in 1600 is unveiled—and his secret identity as a character hiding in one of Shakespeare’s plays is also revealed.
The novel is set in the mountains of Western Japan (where I live), a green, wooded and mysterious place with ghosts, legends, ruined castles, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. Japanese folkloric spirits, mythic foxes and Shinto mythology (which has a living Sun Goddess) all appear in the novel. Ninjas and Ninjutsu (the art and philosophy of Ninja) play an important role.
Juliet is the Sun spans one year exactly, in tribute to the sun and our earth’s rotation around our nearest and most useful star. There are also many quotes from Shakespeare’s plays used in many ways—as decoration, as dialogue, and as comic counterpoint. Some of Shakespeare’ s famous characters magically appear.
The soul of the novel belongs to manga, (Japanese comic books)— episodic, with a light-hearted, popular style, an earnest heroine, a mysterious quest and visitors from supernatural worlds.
One of my goals was to use fiction (instead of non-fiction) to try interpretation, and I aimed for something dramatic, passionate, clandestine, free and zen ~~~ a true adventure.
Finally, Viola’s passion for life and for love is reawakened . . . but should she publish her academic findings or not—that is the question!
In addition, there are a few “puzzle boxes” hidden in the text of my novel. (Readers may hunt for these (unmarked) puzzles and solve them, hopefully.)
Who knew that Shakespeare could be zen?!
Juliet is the Sun is available now on Amazon as an ebook.