Woman of the Baths “Woman of the Baths” is a novella about atonement. It is September 1945. The war in the Pacific theater has been won. To humiliate his industrialist father for supporting the war, pacifist Ogden Fike has a Japanese war victim shipped to him, with forged papers saying she is the bride of Captain Ricky Virostik. Wagner Fike has little choice but to accept the responsibility forced on him of caring for Yukiko and, in doing so, develops a deep affection for her. But nothing he tries breaks Yukiko’s stony silence. When Captain Virostik shows up, Mr. Fike wonders if there is some validity to his son’s hoax after all. Ricky, himself a casualty of war, lost crew and plane in the March 9 fire-bombing raid over Tokyo, was forced to jump into the inferno where he encountered Yukiko, and was captured to suffer a brutal six-month imprisonment. His only hope to defuse his haunting memories is to see Yukiko again. Mr. Fike accommodates his wishes, but when he hears Yukiko speak to Ricky, he is consumed with jealousy and desperate to learn what bond the two share. His attempts to find out award him a sobering glimpse into the horrors of war, which Yukiko herself cannot express.
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