The frame of A Tale of False Fortunes is complex. Writing in 1965, Enchi purports to be remembering a now lost manuscript of her father's which she saw forty years earlier, a manuscript which "must have been a transcription of an older book from the Kamakura or Muromachi period, or possibly a fictional work by a not-so-famous literary scholar of the Tokugawa period". She mixes extracts from and paraphrases of that imagined work with extracts from real works (notably the eleventh century "A Tale of Flowering Fortunes") and her own commentary.
I thought this (filtered through the additional barrier of translation into English) might be difficult to follow, but it is actually accessible and engaging. A Tale of False Fortunes works both as a novel and as an introduction to a fascinating historical setting. Roger Thomas contributes a useful introduction, but the only essential infrastructure is a family tree, without which the relationships between the characters would be confusing.