"Lesley Downer has crafted, with wonderful precision, the best-ever portrait of those mysterious creatures who still ply their venerable craft in the silent backwaters of Japan. Women of the Pleasure Quarters deserves to endure, and to become a classic."
–Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman
"Downer describes her increasing intimacy with the Kyoto geisha with candor and grace. She is not a safari guide, leading us on a wild geisha hunt. She is intelligent and curious and modest, and the results of her very personal research are deeply satisfying."
–New York Times Book Review
"Excellent . . . Downer skillfully builds up a picture of the loves of geisha, set against the Japanese attitude toward sex and marriage . . . A well-rounded and enthralling account of the power of that fantasy and the women behind it."
–Literary Review (London)
"Lesley Downer has created a masterpiece."
–The Spectator (London)