Maria is the protagonist and main character in the novel. She is a girl who grows up in a traditional town in Brazil. Her goal in life is to fall in love with a wonderful man, marry, and raise a family. Her sense of adventure and hopes of fame and fortune lead her to an employment opportunity in Europe, ending up as a prostitute. Maria’s expectations of happy endings are influenced by reality, by her own love experiences. She views men as people who only want sex and pleasure. As the story goes, she presents herself as an individual who can carry herself well, and may I add a religious character in the story because even though she had doubts about the Virgin Mary, there are still parts of the story wherein she pray for her guidance.
A painter who fell in love with Maria, as he claims in the story, he said that he saw Maria’s light and he appreciates it. He is a man who lost his desire towards sex and through Maria’s help, he wants to bring back his desires to it. He explained that he had loved yet lost his desire and asked for Maria’s help to get it back, not as a prostitute but a companion.
He is a Swiss national who fooled Maria and promised her to make her a Samba star in Geneva but instead brought her to the world of prostitution. He was the man of a few words but looks can be deceiving. He seemed like a nice man at first but when they got to Geneva, everything changed. He was a man who is power-driven to his employees and frustrated about them getting married, so he catches women from other countries and leads them into his trap forcing them to work for him.
A married man who is suffering from depression faced with infidelity from his wife. He is considered a “special client” in the club where Maria is working. He indulged her into a ritual called sadomasochism – a sexual ritual of pain and pleasure.
A married man who is the owner of the club. He seems so cautious about his image that he doesn’t want the prostitutes who work in his club to mess around and screw up. He introduced Maria to one of the club’s special clients in the person of Terence. He is a well-mannered man, as shown in the story, he tries his best to keep his business in check and also his employees and treats them with respect, unlike Roger.
She is a Filipino prostitute who works with Maria in the same club. Among all the prostitutes in the club, she is the only one to whom Maria can confide what she has in mind. She is very friendly and as a prostitute herself, she gives advice to the newbie Maria.
Maria saw her as a friend because everyone in the bar sees each other as a competition than a colleague, just like Milan, she respects Maria.
She is an open book to Maria as to her job as a librarian who is at the same time, a friend of Maria. She soon learns the context of sex after reading several books that talk about it. All throughout Maria’s stay in Geneva, she comes to her in her hope to find someone to talk to and borrow books that could help her understand things better.