Synopses & Reviews
A critically acclaimed author tells the enthralling true story of the real Madame Butterfly, a woman who became the most celebrated geisha in Japan and the first to tour the West.
At twenty-nine, she captivated the worlds stage. From San Francisco to New York, Paris, and Berlin, audiences thrilled to her mesmeric acting and exquisite dancing. She performed for the American President and for the Prince of Wales in London. Picasso painted her. Gide, Debussy, Degas, and Rodin were among her devoted fans. She was Sadayakko, Japans most notorious geishaand its first international superstar.
In Italy, Puccini was working on Madame Butterfly. He had the plot for his opera, but he had yet to see a real live flesh-and-blood Japanese womanuntil Sadayakko arrived with her troupe of traveling actors.
Madame Sadayakko is the true story of this extraordinary womanmuse to writers, artists, and fashion designers. Her adventures lift the veil on the secretive world of the geisha and reveal a missing piece of history from the turn of the last century, when Japanese women wore bustles and learned the waltz and women in the West wore Sadayakko kimonos.
[Madame Sadayakko] is a comprehensive portrait of a woman whose fame was shaped in equal parts by her will and her time. (New York Times Book Review) Downer offers a kind of real-life Memoirs of a Geisha. (Publishers Weekly Daily) Downer . . . does an admirable job of making this exciting woman and her times come to life. (Pat MacEnulty, The Sun-Sentinel)
Sadayakko was Japan's most notorious geisha--and its first international superstar. "Madame Sadayakko" is the true story of this extraordinary woman--muse to writers, artists, and fashion designers. Her adventures lift the veil on the secretive world of the geisha and reveal a missing piece of history from the turn of the last century.
About the Author
Lesley Downer is the author of On the Narrow Road, which was short-listed for the Thomas Cook Travel Book of the Year Award; The Brothers: The Hidden World of Japans Richest Family, chosen as a New York Times Notable Book; and the highly acclaimed Women of the Pleasure Quarters. A frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Downer divides her time between London and New York.