The Women I Think About at Night

The Women I Think About at Night
Mia Kankimäki

Say, you’re 40-something, no kids or partner, and a job that’s not getting you anywhere. What do you do? Mia Kankimäki leaves everything behind to travel the paths of her heroines – and the result is this book. A large part of the book details her trip to Africa, trying to get a glimpse of Karen Blixen’s life.

Then she follows other female travellers from the 19th century, among them Isabella L. Bird who in 1878 travelled through Japan. In Italy, Mia looks for the works of female painters from the Renaissance and finds their works tucked away in the back rooms of famous museums. Part women’s biography, part travel diary, and part philosophical musings, this book artfully blends the thoughts of independent women of 3 centuries, and they are not as different as you might think!

This is an unusual book review – since the author is a friend of mine. And not only that, we met when she was in Japan working on this very book! (And I am mentioned in it, actually…) I greatly enjoyed reading about Mia’s trip to Africa, and in some of the passages I recognised my own struggles in creating a new life for myself.

Mia Kankimäki is a Finnish author who gave up her old life to become a full-time writer. Her first book – about Japanese author Sei Shonagon – was an instant success in Finland. This is her second book, which has been translated into more than 10 languages.

I read a preprint of this book that Mia sent me a few months ago, since it will be officially published only next Tuesday. You can order it through amazon already and get it as soon as possible though. I hope you’ll enjoy this book as much as I did.