Geisha in Rivalry
book — Japan — 1916

I guess I can say that I read this book in attempt to find a better understanding of Japanese culture. So far I`ve been rather far from getting a clear idea what`s so cool about it. I mean - several horror movies and lots of books by Haruki Murakami (who`s very much west influenced, as you probably know) don`t actually do the trick. The essence of Japanese literature lies, of course, in books about samuraii and geishas. This novel by Nagai Kafu doesn`t speak much of the former but has the latter in the title. Actually, there`s not that much of geisha rivalry in this book - I guess it could be better described as series of events that were important in the life of a geisha. Komae is a 25 year old geisha (which is considered pretty old, by the way) who wants to find a good patron, or - that would be better - get married to a rich patron. She was married already once but her husband died and she had no other option but to return to her former profession. She finds such a patron she wants in her former lover Esigawa (I`m sure that`s not the correct name, I`m not very good remembering how everyone is called in Eastern works of art), but she doesn`t really want him, instead she also has an affair with a rather popular actor who likes her but doesn`t want to marry her, and marries a woman with a big wallet instead. The book is full of parallel stories that aren`t too close to the one of Komae, but I guess that`s no surprise in a book like this one. It`s pretty, but it`s pointless, perfectly flowing with my understanding of the beauty of Eastern art.
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