Rivalry was one of the "disposable" books I brought to France with me, since it was not on loan from a library. I did, however, acquire it from a library. It was in our giveaway pile at Barnard, though I'm not sure why. It's a Columbia University Press publication and women's studies-ish enough that I would probably order it if I read a good review. It's a translation of a 1917 novel. Can you say "public domain"? Being an academic press publication, it's also got a six page introduction (that I didn't bother to read). Oops--now that I look at the intro, I realize that homosexual that I am as a media consumer, I might not have read it (and might not buy it for the library after all), that the author was a man.
Wow. That changes everything. That'll teach me to skip the intro. I thought the author was a little harsh on the protagonist, and now I feel like I know why.
All right, enough second guessing. I'll have to sort this out later. But for those of you who are still interested, Rivalry is about early 20th century geisha culture in Japan. It's a short book/quick read that seems like a good translation, in that it is accessible yet still conveys a sense of the foreign and past. In the end everyone is more or less happy, I think, yet the story is still dark.