SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10 AT 4PM
BY EVELYN DEWOLFE
Hanadai: The Price of the Flower speaks to the cost of ambition and of home life, the righting of cultural wrongs, and the value of lifelong friendship, shared across distance and time.
In the early 1960s, freelance reporter Evelyn De Wolfe and her photojournalist husband Leonard Nadel were assigned a newspaper series on a geisha of Kyoto’s cloistered Pontocho district. “More recently, my restless fingers reached for the keyboard, poised to rewrite the life story of Mamechiyo. It had been decades since my younger self frantically gathered enough facts to satisfy the expectations of an editor who knew even less than I did about Japan. Why this urge to relive it from my present perspective?” Over their three-week conversation, preconceived notions on both sides fell away.
What remained were two women from seemingly different backgrounds, wedged between the strictures and liberties of their postwar lives: Evelyn , absorbed in the new world of Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir; Mamechiyo , torn between the financial freedom of a geisha and her yearning for the life of a devoted wife and mother. The author of Line of Sight, Across the Herring Pond, Conversations with Mademoiselle ZoZo and Five Honeymoons reflects on that gratifying opportunity to boost her cross-culture competency, and most of all to deliver on a promise made long ago.
Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Evelyn De Wolfe is a graduate of the University of Brazil. Leading up to a life-long career in journalism, she worked as a translator and interpreter for US government agencies in Rio. In Hollywood she was hired by Walt Disney as story researcher, and served as a Hollywood Foreign Press correspondent before starting her 40-year career as staff writer and columnist for the Los Angeles Times. She traveled worldwide with her husband (photo-journalist Leonard Nadel) on magazine assignments.
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