Donna George Storey's 'Amorous Woman' is an enticing and delicious journey into the often-misunderstood world of Japanese erotic culture. Clearly, the author knows her stuff and moreover she was blessed with excellent source material for inspiration, Ihara Saikaku's 17th century novel 'The Life of an Amorous Woman'. Long considered a classic of Japanese erotica (but quite tame in it's language by today's standards), it's prose offers a vision of the Japanese woman as a fully realized erotic being, quite a feat for it's time.
Such is the case with Storey's main character Lydia, a Japanese soul in occidental clothing. Lydia is complex and vulnerable, highly likable and fully believable, a complete foil for Storey's vivid and compelling tale of sexual and personal transformation. Lydia's character is the glue that holds this book together, and she's so well drawn that at times I felt like I was reading an autobiography rather than a piece of fiction.
This is very much the thinking person's porn, written with an insider's understanding of the complexities and rituals of Japanese culture. The sex scenes are hot and descriptive, and touch upon a wide variety of situations from plain vanilla to midlevel kink. One can certainly use this as a one-handed reader if they choose to do so, but it's really more than that. The immersion into Japanese culture is vivid and entertaining in and of itself, making this a much more robust work than your average fantasy-fodder.
Extremely well done. I'd love to see more from this author. Two thumbs and one......errr.uh....well, anyway, two thumbs UP!