"I have spent most of my life in New Jersey, but the blood of a geisha courses through me yet."
If Kiki Takehashi's life is dramatically different from that of her reserved Japanese-American mother, it is light-years away from that of her grandmother, whom she knows only through old family stories. Kiki has recently become engaged to Eric, a handsome, successful New York City lawyer. But at the same time she is hauntedquite literallyby the memory of her friend Phillip, killed the previous year in a mountaineering accident.
Kiki has never met her grandmother Yukiko, for whom she is named. Still, thoroughly American though she is, she feels a secret kinship with her. Kiki is swept up by the story of this strong, proud, passionate woman who, against all odds, in a time and place far different from her own, was sold by her impoverished family, became a famous geisha, and found the love that has so far eluded the rest of the Takehashi women.
Lyrical, haunting, and stunningly evocative, One Hundred and One Ways introduces a powerful and exciting new voice in contemporary fiction.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.13(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.76(d)|
About the Author
Mako Yoshikawa has studied at Columbia University and Oxford. She has been the Vera M. Schuyler Fellow of Creative Writing at the Bunting Institute at Harvard University, and she is a doctoral candidate in English literature at the University of Michigan. Her great-grandmother was a geisha.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It really it like Memoirs of a Geisha meets Ghost. I enjoyed her storytelling. I have to admit to being thrown off when in the first chapter she compares her boyfriend's face to his penis, but it fits her character to do so. My favorite line was "I fall asleep wondering if this is the way balloons make love." It has stuck with me and I am definitely going to read her new release this summer. :o)
¿One Hundred And One Ways¿ is an awesome book in that it deals with the turbulent relationships of Mothers and Daughters spanning three generations. You are left with so many feelings in this book, from the many Mother-Daughter silent moments that speak a million words, to the awkward feelings between lovers. I was so moved with Kiki's ability to deal with her deceased lover and was happy to see her finally deal with her current love. Kiki was also brutally honest about her sexual encounters. This book left me thinking about my own relationships and how I should perhaps confront them with such honestly. I have always been intrigued with the lives of Geishas and this book touches lightly on this mesmerizing way of life. Anyone who reads this book will be profoundly moved in many ways.
An original coming of age tale and a perceptive reflection of what it means to be a Japanese American are the twin buttresses of One Hundred and One Ways, an impressive debut novel by Mako Yoshikawa. Choosing as her setting a rampantly vigorous New York City, the author has crafted an exceptional story of three women whose lives are irrevocably intertwined. By deft use of telling flashback and revelatory conversation Ms. Yoshikawa seamlessly conjoins the past experiences of our narrator, Kiki, a 26-year-old American university student, her mother, Akiko, who lives alone in a well appointed New Jersey home, and her grandmother, Yukiko, a former geisha still in Japan, a woman Kiki has never met but longs to know. Their mutuality rests in each losing the first man she loved. As Kiki, writes: 'In my family, being haunted by a lost love is not even news. I come from a line of women with a tenacious grip on the man in their lives.' More literally haunted than her forebears Kiki finds herself living with a ghost - the wraithlike specter of her dead lover Phillip who appears unbidden 'crouching in a fetal position under my desk, and he enjoys folding his long body into an improbably tiny package so he can fit into the fireplace....' Now engaged to Eric, an up-and-coming young attorney, Kiki finds herself torn by a desire to be what Eric wishes her to be and the continuing grief she feels after Phillip's sudden death. His phantasmic appearances serve only to exacerbate her confusion and sorrow. Seeking respite from ever growing uncertainty, Kiki eagerly anticipates a Thanksgiving visit from her grandmother, the older woman's first trip to the United States and, hopefully, a time of reconciliation for Akiko and Yukiko who have been estranged for a number of years. 'I have been hoarding questions to ask my grandmother Yukiko,' Kiki writes. 'These questions start out to be about her life, and then turn out to be about my own.' The affinity Kiki feels for her grandmother is deeper than a blood tie: '....there is a bond that connects my grandmother to me. It is not our physical resemblance that draws us together, nor does it matter that we share the same name. I know that our similarities run deeper than that, for I have thought long and hard about the key to our secret kinship, and it is this: what a geisha is to Japan, a Japanese woman is to America.' That thought is at the heart of this engrossing, magnetic tale. Ms. Yoshikawa, descended from a long line of samurai and the great-granddaughter of a geisha, has created characters for whom we care and will remember. One Hundred and One Ways introduces a thoughtful, provocative new voice to the annals of American fiction.
I couldn't put this book down. Almost every chapter had me sobbing or laughing. For a first time author, Yoshikawa has definately created a masterpiece.