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FICTION

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, Arthur S. Golden

In Memoirs of a Geisha, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. We enter her world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion.

Sayuri's story begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Through her eyes, we see the decadent heart of Gion - the geisha district of Kyoto - with its marvelous teahouses and theaters, narrow back alleys, ornate temples, and artists' streets. And we witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup and hair; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it. But as World War II erupts and the geisha houses are forced to close, Sayuri, with little money and even less food, must reinvent herself all over again to find a rare kind of freedom on her own terms.

Memoirs of a Geisha is a book of nuance and vivid metaphor, of memorable characters rendered with humor and pathos. And though the story is rich with detail and a vast knowledge of history, it is the transparent, seductive voice of Sayuri that lives in memory.

$14.95 (softcover)

THE BRIDE'S KIMONO, Sujata Massey

Antiques dealer Rei Shimura has managed to snag one of the most lucrative and prestigious freelance jobs of her career: transporting a packet of exquisitely embroidered nineteenth-century kimonos from Tokyo to Washington, D.C., for an exhibit, and to give a lecture on them. It's been years since Rei has set foot in the land of her birth, and in that time, she's become estranged from it. On the other hand, she does not exactly fit in with the band of Japanese office ladies she's accompanied, who have travelled to the United States for a week's worth of shopping. Still, everything seems to be going well enough, until one of the kimonos is stolen from her hotel room and Rei's passport shows up in a dumpster behind a shopping mall -- on the dead body of one of the office ladies. In the middle of this, Rei's ex-boyfriend, Hugh Glendinning, inexplicably arrives in town.

The Bride's Kimono takes us on an absorbing ride as Rei tries to find the stolen kimono, uncover its significance in an ancient Japanese love triangle, decide between two men, and unmask a murderer. This novel, sexy and suspenseful, balances mystery, murder, romance, and culture shock with an alluring historical subplot involving priceless kimonos.
$25.00 (hardcover)
Also available by Sujata Massey:
The Floating Girl
$6.99
The Flower Master
$6.99
The Salaryman's Wife
$6.99

ASH: A Novel, Holly Thompson

They were childhood best friends. Now, fifteen summers later, Caitlin Ober finds herself back in Japan, reluctantly drawn by her memory of Mie and the events of that hot July afternoon in Kyoto.

Teaching English in the remote southern town of Kagoshima, opposite the increasingly active volcano Sakurajima, Caitlin trudges through her school rounds and the oppressive ash that falls daily. She’s determined to ignore the past, not to let it overwhelm her. But a chance encounter with Naomi, a talented but troubled half-Japanese teenager, leads Caitlin on a journey back to Kyoto. Is Naomi someone she can save this time around? Amid the bonfires, temple rites, and ghostly spirits of O-Bon, the summer festival when the dead revisit the living, Caitlin must make peace with her past and future, with the memory of old friends and the promise of new.

This novel provides a convincing fictional take on life in contemporary Japan.

$16.95 (softcover)

 

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