I am both intruiged and nervous about starting this, a book set in Japan but written by a white European man.
For any of you who were around back in summer when I reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden alongside the actual memoir of the geisha (Mineko Iwasaki) who's story he had twisted, sexualised and essentialised... You'll know that I offer no mercy to white authors who depict Asia as some exotic characiture, a fictional playground for white men to live out their sexual and aesthetic fantasies in writing.
That is not to say white men and women can't write fantastic books set in or about Asia, just look at Pearl S. Buck, my idol, who lived and breathed China her whole life. Look at Jonathan Spence, the journalist, who's research took him deep into early reform China. It can be done. It has been done. But all too often a book will be on the Arthur Golden side of the scale, not the Pearl S. Buck.
Disclaimer: Before starting this, I have done no research on the author, I have no idea the depth of his knowledge on Japan. I hope that his knowledge will speak for itself and shine through in the writing. I have, however, allowed myself to judge by the cover, the back of which describes the book as "erotic", which already has me thinking of Arthur Golden. Not a great start, but I will try to be impartial as we go forward.
Thank you @quercusbooks for sending me this review copy, knowing full well how I might review it. You don't often see publishing houses willing to risk a bad review when sending out advanced copies.
QOTD: Do you ever give bad reviews on Instagram?
AOTD: I don't want to preach #authenticity , but I do want to make sure that this platform reflects my genuine opinions. My life definitely isn't as aesthetically pleasing as my feed, but the world outlook I preach here is 100% my own. I also really appreciate @lookprettybooks for sharing "unpopular opinions" and @sarahs89reads for both inspiring this question and keeping it real day and night.
#openbookshelf #geishaofgion #memoirsofageisha #geisha #whitemen #frenchauthor #readingintranslation #booksintranslation #feministbooks #bookrecommendations #feministbookclub #bookshelf - 2 hours ago