Things begin to change when Bernice buys an old, black-lacquer makeup case in an antique shop. The case once belonged to Blissful Night, the most famous and powerful concubine in Hong Kong. According to legend, Blissful Night could give a man more pleasure in one night than he would have experienced in an entire lifetime.
Inside the makeup case, Bernice discovers a forgotten jar of face powder with magical properties, the secret to Blissful Night’s success. Thinking the face powder is an herbal concoction that will beautify her skin, Bernice begins to use it, only to find that the powder causes her to see visions of other people’s sex lives.
Bernice is horrified to discover that the only way she can rid herself of the visions is to blurt out sexual advice. Soon the entire town is in an uproar. But it isn’t until she learns more about Blissful Night’s past that she knows what she must do.
The Concubine’s Gift is a delightfully sexy novel in which Bernice is drawn into a seductive world she never knew existed. A provocative and entertaining Pandora’s Box of a tale!
About the author
Later, on my way to attend a university in France, I traveled to Morocco. I stopped at a marketplace in Marrakesh and while eating my lunch of dates and oranges, I watched a tattered beggar transform himself into a storyteller. He moved with the practiced gestures and fantastic expressions of his trade, surrounded by a growing circle of people who listened to him with eyes wide open, their own lives forgotten. In another culture, at another time he might have been a rich man, but here he was selling beautiful tales for coins in the dusty marketplace. I longed to be like him, this mendicant from Marrakesh.
Years later, I moved to Tokyo to teach and write articles for The Tokyo Weekender Magazine. Every day I traveled the crowded trains, sharing space and breath with millions of strangers.
There amid the crushing humanity, I watched the surreal combinations of east and west in language and life, the painful and beautiful growth that occurs when two cultures collide. I witnessed two public suicides, and felt firsthand not only the temporality of life but also the beauty of a single moment.
The time spent crushed between strangers, doors and windows of the train became a quiet meditative place where I learned to accept life and death. There on that Tokyo train, I began to write novels in my head, while that tattered beggar from Marrakesh, who had captivated me years before, whispered in my ear like a nagging dead man, “Tell me a story.”
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