What can a forty-something childless woman do? Bored with her life and feeling stuck, Mia Kankimäki leaves her job, sells her apartment, and decides to travel the world, following the paths of the female explorers and artists from history who have long inspired her. She flies to Tanzania and then to Kenya to see where Karen Blixen—of Out of Africa fame—lived in the 1920s. In Japan, Mia attempts to cure her depression while researching Yayoi Kusama, the contemporary artist who has voluntarily lived in a psychiatric hospital for decades. In Italy, Mia spends her days looking for the works of forgotten Renaissance women painters of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and finally finds her heroines in the portraits of Sofonisba Anguissola, Lavinia Fontana, and Atremisia Gentileschi. If these women could make it in the world hundreds of years ago, why can’t Mia?
The Women I Think About at Night is “an astute, entertaining…[and] insightful” (Publishers Weekly) exploration of the lost women adventurers of history who defied expectations in order to see—and change—the world.