The Teahouse Fire, by Ellis Avery

Surprisingly, the art portrayed in “The Teahouse Fire” is not that of the geisha, but the tea ceremony, one of the oldest traditions and art forms of Japan and presented solely by men.

The Teahouse Fire, by Ellis AveryThe Teahouse Fire, set in Japan, is, for a change, not set in a geisha house in 18th or 19th century, or earlier. At the time of its publication, readers of this well-mined genre would have been over-familiar with the reference framework of authors like Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha – 1999), Sayo Masuda (Autobiography of a Geisha – 2005) and Liza Dalby (The Tale of Murasaki – 2001). The cover of the book, of a girl in a classical kimono, sets the scene for the milieu of a geisha in Japan before World War II. However, then Avery surprises the reader, since the art in question is not that of the geisha, but the tea ceremony, one of the oldest traditions and art forms of Japan and presented solely by men. (Continue reading…)

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