A Woman of Pleasure

Sometimes you pick up a book and know one chapter in that it will change you as a reader and a person forever. A Woman of Pleasure by Kiyoko Murata is one of those books for me—I’ve never read anything like it. The pillar of the story is ebullient, funny, and iron-willed Aoi Ichi, a teenager sold to a brothel in Kumamoto, Japan. Aoi, considered a rough and unmannered country girl, sees poetry in her raw reality. Entering the space of the red-light district of Kumamoto through her eyes was like turning on a light in a room with no windows; suddenly, this world I would have only read about in textbooks became a stark reality, full of life and vitality. I was particularly struck by the narrative’s brave roving in and out of the thoughts of other characters, including the oiran, or head prostitute, and Aoi’s teacher at the Female Industrial School. I came to know and care for the characters so intimately that I could have read 300 more pages of this sublime, political, and feminist historical fiction. My only disappointment was to discover that A Woman of Pleasure is Murata’s first work to be published in English. I’m hungry for more. Recommended by Wulfe

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A Woman of Pleasure: A Novel By Kiyoko Murata, Juliet Winters Carpenter (Translated by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781640095793
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Counterpoint - February 27th, 2024

An unforgettable novel of fearless women banding together to pursue the lives they want, inspired by the real-life historic Japanese courtesan strike