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Mako Yoshikawa:
One Hundred and One Ways
Mako Yoshikawa
  One Hundred and One Ways  
Mako Yoshikawa    
interview

excerpt



  Mako Yoshikawa wants to defeat the typical stereotype of Asian women in literature, portrayed as what she terms the "abandoned-but-still-patiently-waiting- Asian-woman-who-ultimately-commits-suicide." In her debut novel, One Hundred and One Ways, Yoshikawa binds together the seemingly diverse worlds of the main character, Kiki Takehashi, a Columbia University graduate student, and her grandmother, Yukiko, a legendary Japanese geisha.

The contemporary work, set primarily in New York City, interweaves three generations-worth of tales of love and loss told from the vantage point of the main character, Kiki. Engaged to marry a debonair attorney, Eric, Kiki finds herself haunted by the incarnation of a past flame, Phillip, killed in a mountaineering accident. While striving to overcome her obsession, she questions her feelings for Eric and his attraction to Asian women. And though she's never met her grandmother, she finds guidance in her mother's account of fiercely independent Yukiko, who ultimately entered into a relationship based on mutual love and respect, which seems to elude the other Takehashi women.

Yoshikawa, herself the great-granddaughter of a geisha, was born in the United States to Japanese parents. She spent two years of her childhood in Japan and has lived in England, France, New Zealand, and Switzerland but considers New York her home. A graduate of Columbia and Oxford Universities, she is a doctoral candidate in English literature at the University of Michigan, an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University, and will be a Bunting fellow at Harvard as of September 1999. Her second novel, The Light Well, is currently in progress.


 
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  Photo of Mako Yoshikawa copyright © Marion Ettlinger

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