'When I was nine, in the city now called Kyoto, I changed my fate...
What I asked for? Any life but this one.'
When Aurelia flees the fire that kills her missionary uncle and leaves her orphaned and alone in nineteenth-century Japan, she has no idea how quickly her wish will be answered. Knowing only a few words of Japanese she hides in a tea house and is adopted by the family who own it: gradually falling in love with both the tea ceremony and with her young mistress, Yukako.
As Aurelia grows up she devotes herself to the family and its failing fortunes in the face of civil war and western intervention, and to Yukako's love affairs and subsequent marriage. But her feelings for her mistress are never reciprocated and as tensions mount in the household Aurelia begins to realise that to the world around her she will never be anything but an outsider.
A lushly detailed, spellbinding story, The Teahouse Fire is an unforgettable debut.
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"The tea ceremony becomes a tiny stage on which grand passions are enacted... Avery captures all this with the emotional poise befitting her characters, and great sensual pleasure. Her novel is a rather beautiful thing: all the more so for emulating the values of another world" ( Financial Times)
"Should appeal to fans of Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day" ( Scotland on Sunday)
"In Ellis Avery's The Teahouse Fire, aesthetic rules vie with politics, sex and human feeling. Avery has whipped up a heady brew of sex and human feeling" (Liza Dalby, author of The Tale of Murasaki, Geisha and Kimono)
"Vivid and engrossing... Although this is a historical novel as well as a coming-of-age book, the depth of Avery's exploration of her period and her characters lets her soar above the limitations of both genres...[it is] a novel that, like the tea ceremony itself, provides true pleasure to the intellect and all the senses" ( Los Angeles Times)
"Avery's writing is saturated with color and detail; she manages to make 19th-century Japan both accessible and exotic" ( Boston Globe)
Original, impeccably written and incredibly moving, The Teahouse Fire is a wonderful debut novel in the vein of Memoirs of a Geisha.
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Book Description Vintage, 2008. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall. Brand new advanced reading copy. Advanced Reading Copy (ARC). Bookseller Inventory # 026659
Book Description Vintage Books USA, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0099516187
Book Description Vintage Books USA, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0099516187