Renee's Reviews > One Hundred and One Ways

One Hundred and One Ways by Mako Yoshikawa
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's review
May 06, 08

Read in May, 2008

One hundred and one ways reminded me of weak Chinese tea.... I was waiting for it to blacken, thicken and and perk me up but it never quite did. Still, I love books about Asia and so I read .

"What a geisha is to Japan, a Japanese woman is to America." Kiki Takehashi, the narrator of Mako Yoshikawa's debut novel, One Hundred and One Ways, is all too familiar with what she calls the "Asian-woman fetish" of many American men--the assumption that Japanese women "possessed a set of keys that would unlock their bodies with a groan, one hundred and one times, one hundred and one ways". Despite her suspicions, however, Kiki keeps getting involved with Caucasian men--first Philip, who died the previous year, and now Eric, a Jewish lawyer who has asked her to marry him. Though Kiki accepts, she is still haunted--literally--by the ghost of her departed first love and by her own unresolved feelings about her parents' failed marriage.
As she works through these issues, Kiki is increasingly drawn to the story of her maternal grandmother, Yukiko, with whom she feels a strong bond though they have never met. As a young girl, Yukiko was sold by her family and trained to become a geisha. Her story becomes intertwined with that of her granddaughter's--giving both strength and unexpected guidance to Kiki when she must make a heart-wrenching decision. Indeed, the sections detailing Yukiko's life are among the strongest in Yoshikawa's controlled, occasionally stilted first novel. --Margaret Prior --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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