Little Sister (1998) is the story of Mitsuko, the little sister of the title. Raised in court seclusion she comes up against the cruel grime of the real world on a trip. Her brother-in-law is murdered by bandits, and her elder sister left demented. To restore her sister's soul Mitsuko goes on a strange odyssey into a world of Japanese spirits and demons.
Kara Dalkey has set her book somewhere refreshingly different, and introduces us to the Japan of the 1200s (perhaps I should say a Japan of the 1200s.) We learn naturally about tengus and Gods, and enter a little into how people in the late Heian thought. The story in Little Sister is not merely set against a feudal Japanese backdrop, its logic is appropriate too. Too many times authors just borrow period words and dress and furnishing but still write contemporary fiction.
Mitsuko makes an enchanting and spirited heroine as she walks the paths of Japanese spirits and demons. A different and worthwhile read.