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The Floating World

Author: Gralla, Cynthia Set In . . .
 Asia, Japan, Tokyo
Genre: Fiction
Time Frame: 2000s
Published: 2003
Description: Liza leaves her Ivy League life behind and escapes to Tokyo, a place where the ghosts of World War II pulse beneath the neon nightlife. She intends to study butoh, otherwise known as "the dance of utter darkness," with master teacher Oshima Kenzo. While working in one of Tokyo's infamous hostess bars, Liza meets the mysterious Maboroshi, leader of the maiko, a group of neophyte geisha whose expression is as violent as butoh itself. Liza's journey culminates in the discovery of the most exclusive restaurant in Japan, where men eat delicacies directly off a naked human body. Descending into this midnight underworld, Liza becomes fragmented, lost: a stranger in her own skin, struggling to find her way back home.

This novel was first published in hardcover by Ballantine in March 2003. A paperback edition with a reader's guide appeared in October 2004. For the first time ever, The Floating World is being offered as a Kindle edition.

The reviews below were for the hardcover edition of The Floating World:

"[Gralla's] prose is like dance itself, spontaneous, original, and sensual. Read this beautiful novel slowly, the way you might eat a ripe pear. The results are the same: a delightful nourishment that engages all the senses." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"Lyrical. . .Intricately plotted. . .Gralla succeeds in creating an intelligent contemporary heroine whose perceptive insights illuminate past and future, East and West." -- Publisher's Weekly

"Gracefully chronicles a young woman's struggles with how the world she inhabits views her." -- Booklist

"The Floating World suspends the reader in a tantalizing limbo between the cultures of the United States and Japan, between the old world and the new, between the safety of the familiar and the exotic allure of foreign territories. Cynthia Gralla is an expert at intellectual seduction, and in her mesmerizing debut she plays her hand like a pro." -- Ken Foster, author of The Kind I'm Likely to Get

"The Floating World is starkly erotic and strangely exotic. Tokyo, in this memorable novel, is presented in haunting and decadent detail." -- Frances Sherwood, author of Vindication and The Book of Splendor
  
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