"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 haunted--quite literally--by 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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of Business & Economics eBook: One Hundred and One Ways|
|Release Date: 09-16-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Bantam Books|
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One Hundred and One Ways
Chapter OneSometimes I can smell him, rain and salt and cigarettes and something else, curiously, like cucumber, when I step out of the shower. Out of a sense of delicacy, perhaps, he has never appeared to me in the bathroom, but whenever I smell him I dress myself slowly, making sure to hold in my stomach. I wring my hair and whip it back from my face, I clean the mirror of steam and stretch and strike a few casual poses in front of it. I lather lotion onto my body, first my legs, one foot up on the sink at a time, then my stomach, smoothing in the cream in small circles, and then my arms and last of all my breasts. I dress at a leisurely pace, pulling my underpants up and sliding into them with a swivel of the hips, snapping on a bra with all the strut and reluctance of a striptease. I may have spent most of my life in New Jersey, but the blood of a geisha courses through me yet.
When I first saw Phillip he was only a flicker in the corner of my eyes, gone even before I turned. Only gradually did he become bolder, moving out of the dusty corners to reveal his full form in quick flashes. Now he will stay in one place for hours. If I am reading I can look up at odd moments and he will be there, watching me. Often he will remain with me until I finish the book.
He is fond of small spaces. Lazy as ever and cured, apparently, of his wanderlust, he likes 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, along with the violet moths. Less frequently he peeks out from behind the door or he stands picturesquely shrouded by the curtains; every once in...