cover image Gina in the Floating World

Gina in the Floating World

Belle Brett. She Writes, $16.95 trade paper (328p) ISBN 978-1-63152-407-3

In 1981, Dorothy Falwell, the narrator of Brett’s arresting first novel, arrives in Tokyo, where she has come to take part in what she hopes will be an internship program with a major bank. “I’m supposed to be acquiring something that Wharton—that’s the school I’m going to—calls ‘cultural adaptability,’ ” she comments. Her plans soon change when she finds out that her internship is unpaid, no arrangements for housing have been made, and her Japanese mentor has no interest in helping her. With her money running out fast, she accepts a hostess job at a club. Her progress from goody-two-shoes student to a prostitute known as Gina is the work of Mr. Tambuki, a businessman who offers to educate her with trips to art galleries, fine restaurants, and swanky hotels. Is Mr. Tambuki really a gangster? Has Victoria, Dorothy’s colleague at the Bar Puss ’n’ Boots, been murdered? Is she being followed by an assassin or a foot fetishist? Many readers will feel that these questions are merely window dressing for a story about Dorothy’s psychosexual development. Along the way, Brett provides fascinating insights into Japanese culture. This is a promising start for a writer to watch. (Sept.)