Book Reviews of Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha
Memoirs of a Geisha
Author: Arthur S. Golden
Audio Books swap for two (2) credits.
ISBN-13: 9780375405372
ISBN-10: 0375405372
Publication Date: 9/1/1998
Edition: Unabridged
Rating:
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 10

4.1 stars, based on 10 ratings
Publisher: Random House Audio
Book Type: Audio Cassette
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

562 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 111 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 27
This book would have gotten 5 stars from me, except that it ended with a fizzle. The opening 2/3 of the book when she's sent to become a Geisha, learns the trade, and the politics within the Geisha house was just fascinating. But toward the end it became tedious and I was finally glad that it ended. Both of my parents read this book as well, and had the same opinion. But this book is still definitely worth a read!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
Helpful Score: 6
I thought this was a remarkable book. The voice of the geisha and the authenticity of the times are consistent throughout the book. I carried it with me to read at odd moments -- something I don't usually do these days with books. The book was completely engaging.

Somehow I managed to not read it for the first 10 years since it was published!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This story is written so beautifully it reads like poetry. A fascinating look into the Geishas of Gion and their world. I could not put this book down, I wanted so badly to find out what happens between Sayuri and the Chairman!!!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 56 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I really loved this.... The narrator did an excellent job with this story... really lured you in and made you feel like you were there and part of the story... In the beginning the main character says she is going to explain about the day that "was the best day of her life as well as the worst" and then she goes into her personal accounts of the competition, glamour, and heartbreak that is you experience once you give your life over to becoming a geisha. I was really rooting for the main character throughout her story (beginning when she was just a girl of only 9 years old)--i laughed with her and actually cried with her at times... She really makes you realize that the life of a geisha isnt all glamour and it can actually be quite lonely; however as it is with many things in life even the darkest clouds can have a silver lining...

I knew nothing about Japanese Geisha prior to listening to this story and listened to this on a car ride from MD to NJ (it is only 3 hours long so it isnt as painstakingly long as many audio cds are so its great if you are just commuting to work or good to put on while driving around and running errands)---After finishing the story i must say i was extremly touched by this story and i am fascinated & would like to learn more about the lives of Japanese Geisha. ---Even if this isnt your normal genre of choice, i think most would enjoy this touching story..
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
Helpful Score: 4
I didn't love it, but I can see how others could. I read it because of Japan's controversy over its publication. It is food for thought, especially for encouraging young women to protect their chastity. The protagonist stands up for nothing, and her life happenings are...worth the read. ;)
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 404 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I really enjoyed this book about Sayuri's life in Japan during World War II as she learns to become a geisha. I especially liked her relationships with her mentor Mameha, the scarred businessman Nobu, and her friend, the Chairman.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 48 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
A profound look into the world of Geisha. It's written as a memoir though it's a work of fiction. This is a very moving story.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
Helpful Score: 4
This is what historical fiction looks like when it grows up! Of course everyone knows the tie-in with the movie, but the book gives such lyrical detail of these girls and womens lives. Even if you've seen the movie, there's so much more here to know. Prepare to enter another world, one of enchantment but that will definitely take you beyond your comfort zone. It's a love story, a history lesson.....like falling down the rabbit hole into another time and place. The details here are phenomenal. I couldn't put it down, didn't want it to end, cried for the characters, and want to go to Japan. I may just keep this, on second thought......
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 107 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Without a doubt, one of the best books I've ever read. I still have it in my collection and won't part with it.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 188 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I liked this book. I learned a lot about the Japanese culture while reading it, I didn't think it was a page-turner, and it took me longer to read than usual, but overall it is very good.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 118 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
i'm so glad i read this, it's a wonderful book. the imagery, the lifestyle, everything comes to life in this book. the story itself is beautifully written, Sayuri is so real i find myself riding along on her emotional roller coaster. there are so many misconceptions that americans have about geisha -- this book blows them to bits.

i look forward to seeing how the movie stacks up.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
Helpful Score: 3
I lived in Japan for decades and, jumping into the book without realizing it was a work of fiction, found it entirely believable. (This is not true for many books written by westerners about Japan.) The book deserves praise for that reason alone, but it is also a gripping read, and informative, to boot.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I loved this book, I could hardly put it down! Although fictional, the author got many of the facts from an actual geisha. It makes being a geisha seem so glamorous and dream-like, but then makes you pity them in ways as well.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 82 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Fascinating and thought provoking look at a very different culture. I just tore through it!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Excellent book! The language is vivid and the characters really draw you in.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
One of the best books I've read!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 24 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Great book--more in depth than the movie, which books always are, but follows very closely. Interesting comparison of times and cultures.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book was very good. Much better than the movie!
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Helpful Score: 2
Good fictional portrait of the life of a geisha pre-World War II. If you like this try Geisha by Liza Dalby and Geisha, A Life by Iwasaki.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
Helpful Score: 2
This is one of the best books I've ever read. It is very interesting to see how the geisha lived (even though it's fiction obviously). The author does a good job of transporting the reader back in to the time of the geisha.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Reading this book was like being thrust into a different dimension. The mores and values were foreign, as is the time frame and culture.

Having said that, I loved being sucked into the world of 1800s geishas. The author never hit a wrong note and I cannot understand how he could have captured the essence of the geisha world so completely.

But don't think the plot doesn't move along. The story is great and his characters very believable.

And NO it's not chick lit, although I think more women than men will find it appealing. Would I read this again? Probably - in a few years.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Now this is what I call a book! A very well-written story bringing the reader into an exotic locale and lifestyle with a believability and grace missing in so many novels written nowadays.
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Helpful Score: 2
I've read reviews that say anyone who is familiar with the Japanese will find this book to be an oversimplification and exaggeration of Geisha culture. I feel sorry for those people.

This novel has voice from the very beginning. I was want to believe that this was an actual recounting of a woman's life. Golden paints a breathtaking and delicate portrait with his geisha. The language and imagery are beautiful, the story is touching. There was not one page that I was not engrossed by Sayuri's life, her struggle, her tradition.

The reason I picked up the book was because I was so enticed by the movie. However, the book provides subtlety and detail that cannot be translated onto the screen. (Though, both are amazing pieces of work in their own right.)

Bravo, Golden.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 472 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Arthur Golden brings Sayuri to life and she tells her own story. All he does is just holds the pen! The training and lifestyle of a geisha has never been made real in this manner. This book paints beautifully the culture, the people, the tradions of the time.
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Helpful Score: 2
I read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden over Christmas break. I really enjoyed reading this book. I saw the movie a couple of years ago and remember enjoying it, even though it got interrupted :( It was kind of nice because I couldn't remember what happened in the end! This was a really fast read - I read most of it on the plane flights to and from Chicago. It's a sad story, but I still enjoyed reading about Japan. I thought this books was really well written and the story keeps you interested throughout. I would totally recommend it (at least to a mature audience - there is quite a bit of sexual content)
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 81 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Sayuri is a geisha and this is her story. Told in first person, Sayuri begins her memoirs telling us about her childhood as a younger sister. She is a elderly fisherman's daughter and has an dying mother. Abruptly, she and her sister are taken away by strangers. She has been sold into slavery and now belongs to a geisha house. The novel takes the reader on an endearing journey through this child's life and training as she becomes of one of Japan's most famous geisha. This is an authentic novel that takes the reader into the Japanese culture of servitude and respect while showing the greed and jealousy that exists within this exotic world of the geisha. The book reads almost like a diary and I would call it an historical novel....not quite romance. Sayuri's story will take you into the Gion district of Koyoto, Japan. She will disclose her deepest desires, her dreams and her seductions. A fascinating story!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
Helpful Score: 2
This book was amazing! it took me only 3 days to read, once I started, I couldn't stop reading it! All the characters reminded me of someone I knew, and it really drew me into the book.

Definatley recommend this book to a friend!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I was so surprised by this book. It really affected me. It definitely deserves its place on the 101 Books to Read Before You Die list.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I can't say enough about this book. Beautiful story and I was very intrigued with the culture and what I learned about the lifestyle of Geishas. This is a great book. I was doubtful that it would hold my interest so I am glad I gave it a try. It definitely has become one of my favorites.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 39 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I really enjoyed this book. Although this is a work of fiction, you\'d swear it was a true story. I became bonded with the characters immediately. Some I loved, others I hated. Made for a good read!
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Helpful Score: 2
I love books that totally take me to a different place or time or both. This one did.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great book that really engages you into a different time & culture.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 52 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent book and wonderfully read. I'm usually not much for audiobooks, but I really loved this one.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 40 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
The story is well researched and as result it is easy to get lost in the life of the geisha and begin to empathize with the character. It is well written and I found it hard to put down the book to go about life.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed the personal story of the main character and the history lesson along with the Japanese culture.
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Helpful Score: 1
Wonderfully descriptive and almost flowery writing. I would certainly recommend this book to get lost in.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
Helpful Score: 1
This is an early edition of the book that the movie is based on.

It's an utterly compelling read, interesting for it's cultural details as much as for the storytelling and the drama that unfolds in this young woman's life.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 163 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I thought this was a very nice and emotional story... I know it had come out into a movie... that I have not seen... but, this book was very detailed based on truth and a very hard life. dg
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 117 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I thought this book was terrific and I couldnt believe a man wrote it because he gets into telling the story from the womens point of view.I liked this book so much I told my sister to read it and she also said it was great.I liked learning also about a life as a geisha in that time period. Very fascinating.What a hard life.
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Helpful Score: 1
One of my favorite books of all time. It is so well written that I couldn't put it down. The visualization of what it was like to live at that time is terrific.
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Helpful Score: 1
Excellent book! I decided to read it before seeing the movie...and now am excited to see how the movie follows the storyline. I am so glad I read this book.
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Helpful Score: 1
Excellent historical fiction. One of my favorites.
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Helpful Score: 1
100000000000000000000 times better than the movie!!!! totally read this book, then watch the movie!!!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
Helpful Score: 1
In my opinion one of the greatest books ever!! This book is 100% a must read, and probably one you'll end up reading time and time again. The story transports you to a different time and place, it will break your heart and warm it all at the same time.
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Helpful Score: 1
I couldn't put this book down--I read it in 1 and half days.....
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book! I read it years ago when it first came out. Of course the movie didn't do it justice, but I loved that too. Very interesting page turner about the life of a Geisha.
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Helpful Score: 1
Beautifully written novel about the life of a geisha. The descriptions really brought you into the novel, though I felt the ending was almost a little abrupt.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a heart wrenching story about the life of the life of a young Japanese girl. It combines the elements of a historical novel with exotic romance.
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Helpful Score: 1
A great book to listen to on a trip, however, if you are a fan of the book, be aware that certain parts of the plot are excluded in this version (as in the movie). 3 hours, 2 cassettes
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 55 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I know this book received absolutely wonderful reviews, but I just found it very sad. Despite what the main character has said she was a high priced prostitute. Perhaps the only difference between a prostitute and the Geisha is that the Geisha makes her job look like an art and the fewer the customers the better!

The norm: A little girl from a poor fishing family whose mother dies and a few years later her father too. Being the younger, prettier sister she is given the opportunity to become a Geisha. You can probably guess what happened to her older, supposedly
"less" sister. As the reader we follow the younger sister only, which is not bad until the realization comes over you that she was practically sold into slavery...

I don't want to spoil the ending, but I'm sure many already know it!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Memoirs of a Geisha is a great book especially a great listen in audio cassette on a long drive.. I drive alot and audiobooks and cassettets help me catch up on my reading. I really enjoyed listening to this one.
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Helpful Score: 1
Although I somewhat enjoyed the movie, i couldn't get into this book at all... It is very tedious and boring. It was too wordy for me and it didn't get straight to the point. Even with watching the movie I don't quite understand the story.
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Helpful Score: 1
In Memoirs of a Geisha. we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the hightest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction- at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful-and completely unforgetable...
If you saw the movie, you must read the book..I recommend it highly..
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Helpful Score: 1
According to Arthur Golden's absorbing first novel, the word "geisha" does not mean "prostitute," as Westerners ignorantly assume--it means "artisan" or "artist." To capture the geisha experience in the art of fiction, Golden trained as long and hard as any geisha who must master the arts of music, dance, clever conversation, crafty battle with rival beauties, and cunning seduction of wealthy patrons. After earning degrees in Japanese art and history from Harvard and Columbia--and an M.A. in English--he met a man in Tokyo who was the illegitimate offspring of a renowned businessman and a geisha. This meeting inspired Golden to spend 10 years researching every detail of geisha culture, chiefly relying on the geisha Mineko Iwasaki, who spent years charming the very rich and famous.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
Helpful Score: 1
loved it. Saw the movie first then read the book. Enjoyed seeing the structure of the female run business...the myth and truth of geisha as well as the bitter sweet story.
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Helpful Score: 1
I have never read such an interesting book about the life of the geisha in earlier times. The book takes place before and after World War II. The author did an excellent job of intertwining what was going on in the world at the time and how it somehow all relates, even to the geisha.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
Helpful Score: 1
Had read that the movie was receiving mixed ratings and that reading the book first made the movie more enjoyable. Also read that the book was the better of the two.

I purchased the book, then, and for one reason or another, couldn't get back to it. I just completed reading it and it was GREAT! I certainly am glad I read it and found it very absorbing. I would NOT have wanted to have missed reading this book.
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Helpful Score: 1
I have read this book at least a half a dozen times over the last several years. It continues to be a great read. Full of cultural details and richly developed characters.
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Helpful Score: 1
Enchanting! This is the best book I've read in a very long time... one of my new favorites.... I can't believe it took me this long to sit down with it, but I couldn't be more happy I did.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is basically a book about "Geishas" in China. It has recently been made into a movie. Very good Book.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book was definately a 5 star book. The imagery was amazing and the story line really kept me reeled in.
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Helpful Score: 1
One of the great ones! Wonderful descriptions, I really felt taht I was experiencing the story with this young woman, what an amazing journey her life was. A must read!
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Helpful Score: 1
I am already a fan of Japanese culture and I really liked the movie so I was expecting to love this book. I did. I loved every minute of it, but not for the reasons I thought. Arthur Golden disappears when you start this book. You really believe he sat down with an old geisha and wrote her story as she dictated it. There are much more layers to the story than in the movie that make it all the more endearing. Take a look!
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Helpful Score: 1
Absolutely one of the best books I've ever read. It grabs you from the first page and when it ends you wish it didn't. Beautiful poignant story of a small girl who becomes a Geisha. Story follows her whole life. Just beautiful.
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Helpful Score: 1
Wonderfully written, completely enjoyable. This was a very quick read for me. The movie was surprisingly true to the book. Of course, the book offers much more detail and it's definitely worth the read!
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Helpful Score: 1
Sayuri's struggle to navigate through her world is beautiful to witness. Despite all the adversities, she perseveres and in some instances, even triumphs. "Memoirs" is a life-affirming book full of historical details and emotional moments
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Helpful Score: 1
Thoroughly engrossing. A great window into an unusual world, and a great love story to boot.
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Helpful Score: 1
I read this a number of years and just loved it. Carefully written, beautiful story.
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Helpful Score: 1
I really enjoyed this book. It was a beautifully unique love story.
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Helpful Score: 1
The book is partly historical, part fairy tale. It's about a world where appearances are paramount; where women are trained to bequile the most powerful; virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder, and where love is scorned as illusion. This book is romantic, erotic, suspenseful - and completely unforgettable. It draws you in from the very first page.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is definitely one of the best books I have EVER read. Fantastic imagery, interesting characters, great plot - could be nonfiction. I would have totally believed it! I can't wait to see the movie now! (although, I'm sure it won't compare to the book...)
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. It is entirely believable. It is very well researched and gives much insight into the life of the Geisha in the early to mid-20th century and the lives they led and how they were a part of Japanese society. Without intending to do so, it also gave the picture of how women were treated in society at that time. I had to keep reminding myself that this was written by a man as the writer got into the minds of the women. The characters became real people for me and the book was very readable. I didn't think that I would have enjoyed it so much. Highly recommend it!
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Helpful Score: 1
This was a thoroughly enjoyable book. The details are incredible and really draw you into the story. I felt that the story rushed near the end, but overall, it was a very good read.
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Helpful Score: 1
This story was easy to get into- definitely took me to a new place- lots of great visuals too.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book.I cant believe a man wrote this book.What a great story about a geisha.
I never knew how hard it was to be a geisha and all they had to go through.I recommend this book to all my friends.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book, beautifully written. Much like the Japenese culture itself, this book subtly reveals its charms. A fascinating journey to a time, place and lifestyle few Westerners ever know. The level of detail is astounding, but never overwhelming.
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Helpful Score: 1
Since I was overseas(Japan) for 4 years.You are not aware that it is still happening in this time of age/era...
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Helpful Score: 1
Absolutely Delightful.
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Helpful Score: 1
I thought this book was amazing- I couldn't put it down!
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Helpful Score: 1
Wonderfully detailed story. Engrossing and thought-provoking. - I can't wait to discuss this book with my book club.
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Helpful Score: 1
If you haven't read this yet, don't wait. Wonderful rich story, great characters and details. Makes you wish you were there at that time.
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Helpful Score: 1
Fascinating read, very descriptive writing. Would recommend.
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Helpful Score: 1
This book had been sitting on my shelf for a LONG time and it periodically catches my attention so I finally decided to listen to its plaintive cries and read it. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed after all the rave reviews and hype about it. It took me awhile to get into it, but the middle portion of the book was quite spell-binding. The book was admittedly beautifully written, but for me the downfall of the book was the ending. I felt it fell somewhat flat and was more than a little predictable and wishy-washy.
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Helpful Score: 1
I hate to say it, because I've heard so many really good reviews about this book. Made me look forward to reading it.

But the fact is, I really didn't like it at all. The author was good with descriptions. I was able to imagine what I was reading. But it was just so sad. I honestly can't say I found any light moments throughout the whole thing. Even the ending left me hanging about something (I won't say what. don't want to ruin it for others).
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Helpful Score: 1
The writing is amazing. More than just the flow of it, it's the pacing and the movement through time as the book progresses with the life of the narrator. Nothing drags, everything is so interesting, even the parts where the storyteller is a child (often the least interesting in a book for me), is riveting and strange and shocking at times. It does not read like anything I can really describe, it reads as if you are looking at a picture and watching what is going on. The narrator speaks like a person who is not used to the traditional way of phrasing sentences, but instead uses pictures to convey meaning instead of just description. You feel as though you understand everything that is going on while it is happening in the book, you understand all the storyteller is feeling and seeing. Not only that, but it is a fascinating story about a completely foreign culture and customs unlike anything we've ever experienced here. I can't think of anything to say that hasn't been said by the other reviewers, except that you will not be bored, and whether you are disgusted or angered or intrigued by the treatment of the characters in this book, you will have a new understanding for a time completely outside of anything you've ever known.
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An excellent book, with a wonderful story. I loved it!
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Golden creates a vivid, sensual world that the reader can hear and see and touch. A beautiful, wrenching story that gives a glimpse into the exotic world of Japanese geisha. A must-read.
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Wonderful book & movie. An must read book.
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Fascinating book-- this is the book the movie is based on. It is beautifully written.
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"I wasn't born and raised to be a Kyoto geisha....I'm a fisherman's daughter from a little town called Yoroido on the Sea of Japan." How nine-year-old Chiyo, sold with her sister into slavery by their father after their mother's death, becomes Sayuri, the beautiful geisha accomplished in the art of entertaining men, is the focus of this fascinating first novel. Narrating her life story from her elegant suite in the Waldorf Astoria, Sayuri tells of her traumatic arrival at the Nitta okiya (a geisha house), where she endures harsh treatment from Granny and Mother, the greedy owners, and from Hatsumomo, the sadistically cruel head geisha. But Sayuri's chance meeting with the Chairman, who shows her kindness, makes her determined to become a geisha. Under the tutelage of the renowned Mameha, she becomes a leading geisha of the 1930s and 1940s. After the book's compelling first half, the second half is a bit flat and overlong. Still, Golden, with degrees in Japanese art and history, has brilliantly revealed the culture and traditions of an exotic world, closed to most Westerners.
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Amazing book!! Much better than the movie!
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Fabulous Story, enchanting and endearing.
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follows a young girl's journey
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I loved this book and still cant believe that it was written by a man. It is an amazing story.
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Excellent! Very well written look into a fascinating culture.
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Excellent! Great read.
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an indepth read about the life of a Geisha....if you saw the movie, this is much more detailed.
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REAL LIFE MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

Anyone who has not read this book, READ IT!! It's a beautiful story. Memoirs of a Geisha is my all time favorite book (read it like 20 times). Mineko Iwasaki (author of Geisha, A Life) is who Memoirs is (supposedly) based off of. If you read both you might notice names from her real story are incorporated in the fiction version.

I decided to review this book because I just found Geisha, A Life in my collection and it had a cut out article in it from a magazine the year before it was published. Here's what it says:

THE REAL GEISHA
Mineko Iwasaki, purportedly the model for the narrator of Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha, is going to tell her own story-and according to her agent, her decision has nothing to do with the lawsuit the retired geisha recently brought against Golden and Random House in which Iwasaki claimed the book hurt her reputation and that she is owed royalties (Random House disputes the claim). "It's absolutely seperate-she wanted to tell her own story," says Jandy Nelson of Manus & Associates. "We have never seen the world of geishas from a nonfiction angle," says Emily Bestler, the executive editorial director of Pocket, which paid mid-six figures for the memoir.
-Matthew Flamm, Entertainment Weekly, June 8, 2001

Interesting, eh? So anyone who read Memoirs and liked it, I definitely recommend Geisha, A Life to get the "real" version of the story. It was fun to compare the two books. They both are excellent reads!
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It's a fascinating book about Sayuri's life, but near the end it does sort of fizzle out. I still would recommend it, though.
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An excellent book! Beautifully written, thoroughly entertaining. I was intrigued with the details of a Geisha's life. The story is sad at times, hopeful at others.
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This book was a very interesting book, it was very hard to put down. The characters were all very descriptive on their feelings and emotions and I loved the way they dealt with situations in their own different ways.
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A classic and wonderful look into the exotic world of a geisha. I was mesmorized and taken away into another world with these "true confessions" of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha. Loved it.
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Very well written and researched book. Well worth the time to read.
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another one of my favorites. an incredible story with fascinating cultural aspects.
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I really enjoyed this book and got very caught up in it, so much that, when I thought that Sayuri was going to do something that would be wrong or bad for her, I found it hard to read further and had to take a break! It reads like a memoir but is really a fiction story. Very nicely done. I am glad I kept reading. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Loved it! One of the books you have to read before you die. A true look into another culture.
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One of those Read The Book First co-depictions. Epic in scale, meticulous of detail, superlative in depictions of time and place, haunting visuals in movie and book. It left me with much respect, and it wrung me out emotionally between twixt and between. Who cares if it is bio or fiction? It is a good story.
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This was an engaging book that gave a view of culture I had little knowledge of. Well written and a page turner.
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A true classic for those who love novels surrounded by history and a foreign land. Being a true romantic I adored this book for being a romance, although not in the traditional sense. By submerging themselves in Chiyo a reader can see how life is for one who allows love to lead them.
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This novel is enchanting. I have read it once every year since it's release!! I loved it way before it was made into a movie. The original book I owned is tattered and I am going to look to buy or swap for a hardcover.

Enough of my lamenting, on with my review... Arthur Golden's tale wove an elegance that only one can dream of. You feel like you lived her hurt, anguish, embarrassment and pain. But just as you felt all of that you also felt her happiness and accomplishment. It was a riveting tale of power and was quite insightful of the happenings during the year/decade/life of a Geisha.

A powerful read!
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While I enjoyed the meat of this book, even with the controversy surrounding it, the ending of this book was truly uninspired. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it but I will say that you will be thoroughly disappointed when you set the book down.
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A moving interesting glimpse into a life. A very worth while read. You will be moved and inspired by this book, I was.
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I picked up this book after seeing Carm reading it on The Sopranos. I am so glad that I did.

I grew very attached to the characters and found myself crying at many points, every time I've read it.

I enjoyed the idea that this was written as a memoir because it made the character seem even more real than even the most elegant descriptions could have.

The book is beautiful and very well written. The pictures that were painted in my head were very great. I liked the attention to detail ...more I picked up this book after seeing Carm reading it on The Sopranos. I am so glad that I did.

I grew very attached to the characters and found myself crying at many points, every time I've read it.

I enjoyed the idea that this was written as a memoir because it made the character seem even more real than even the most elegant descriptions could have.

The book is beautiful and very well written. The pictures that were painted in my head were very great. I liked the attention to detail that the author had when describing the characters, the settings, and the landscaping.

I am also glad that I read this book before I watched the movie. The pictures that I had envisioned from reading the book were much more elaborate than they were portrayed in the movie. I think had I seen the movie first that would have taken much away from what I got from the book. If you are thinking of watching this movie I would recommend reading the book first
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A great book. Nicley reasearched, loved it!
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we enter a world where women are trained to beguile and most powerful men;and where love is scorned as illusion. It si unique and triumphant work of fiction-at once romantic,erotic,suspenseful-and completely unforgettable.
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A well-written, engaging story, with a good mix of interesting, well-researched information and fictional story, revolving around (as I'm sure everyone is aware) the life of a successful geisha in 1930s & 1940s Kyoto.
My one quibble: why did the author find it necessary to make Sayuri (the protagonist), a Japanese woman, have blue/gray eyes? It really wasn't necessary to the plot, and just reminded me too much of so many stories that are set in an "exotic" culture, but find it necessary to place a "Western" individual in a starring role, as if "we" wouldn't be interested in reading about a protagonist who was unlike "us." (James Clavell's "Shōgun" is one example; there are many others).
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This is one of those books that you read and then wish you could get it out of your head. What a colossal waste of time! The geisha tradition is historic and this makes it sound fairly contrived and sleazy.
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Very interesting insight into the life of a geisha. I read it a couple of years before the movie... never seen the movie so not sure how it compares.
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I read this book ten years ago and again last year. Both times I could not put it down until I had read the last page. The book is better than the movie in my opinion
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Loved this book.
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A fabulous book!
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absolutely gripping, and better than the movie.
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I enjoyed the history of Japan and was a great read as well.
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wonderful.
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Readers experience the entire life of a geisha, from her origins as an orphaned fishing-village girl in 1929 to her triumphant auction of her mizuage (virginity) for a record price as a teenager to her reminiscent old age as the distinguished mistress of the powerful patron of her dreams.
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Interesting read!
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Better than the movie
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Really interesting story, a good, fast read. I read it in a day or so. Better than the movie!
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This book is soooo good! It is hard to believe that it is fiction!
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A wonderful story. Very captivating and interesting. While the story is fiction, the historical aspects are very interesting.
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I loved this novel. I can't believe a man wrote it, since it was infused with a feminine sensibility. A very enjoyable read.
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Very interesting-gives the reader a glimpse of another culture although it is part-fiction and part-fact. Two young Japanese girls are sold by their father to another man who then sells them to different homes. The story is about how one girl rises from a lowly servant in the home to a the main geisha in that home.
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very good book. has a lot more information on the geisha lifestyle than the movie.
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Our book club read this book and all enjoyed it. It opens your eyes to a different culture and time.
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This is an outstanding story and an amazing look inside the world of geisha - something quite foreign to our culture. I had trouble putting it down.
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The book is way bettr than the movie.
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True confessions of Japans most celebrated Geisha.
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Better than the movie
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One of my favorite books of all time
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Wonderful book.
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very interesting! Can't get to sleep becuase you want to find out what happens next in these people's lives. fully developed characters.
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A wonderful story you won't be able to put down. Everyone should read this book at some point!
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loved this book
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fascinating story! It seems as if it's an autobiography rather than a ficitonal account of a young girl's rise to the status of geisha
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Excellent, excellent book! It's impossible to believe this book was written by a man. I have always been intrigued by Geisha's... and the history! A must read.
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Much, much better than the movie!
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This is a beautiful book. It's a great read!
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Beautiful imagery...fully developed characters. Loved the story.
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So many adjectives describe this book. It is an intensely rich, intricately woven memior filled with such a detailed look into life as a geisha and the Japanese tradition. I was so naive, and what I thought I knew about geisha was sooo wrong. The book read slowly for me, but not in a negative way. It took me almost a week to finish because it just had to be read slowly and thoughtfully as to not miss a single thread of the fabric of each page!!! This very review reflects how I was taken back by Sayuri's narrative...(i loved her analogies). Although this is fiction, it is expalined by Golden that it's historical facts are completely accurate, and boy did he do his homework!!! I feel like I've been to Japan and back. I honestly can't explain it, this book MUST BE READ!!!!
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I enjoyed this book very much. The characters are well developed. I found myself rooting for them to have the life they long for. It is a bitter sweet read.
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I read this book a few years ago and remember being totally swept away into the world that the main character lives in. The book is well written, you truly get involved nd invested in the characters. I absolutely reccoment this book.
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I did not enjoy this book. While it was beautifully written, the tale of poor Chiyo disturbed me. I was disturbed by the way that she was treated from the day she entered Kyoto and more disturbed by the ending which to me seemed like a cop out. I know many love this book, but unfortunately, I cannot say that I enjoyed it. I was happy to have finished!
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I loved this book. It was much better than movie (as most books are). Beautifully told.
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I loved this book. It presented an entertaining way to learn about Geisha and about Japan. The movie was a rare treat as well. I felt it stuck to the book and left me wanting more, that I quickly read the book afterwards!
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what a great glimpse into this foreign world.
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Engaging, well written. The life of a geisha in a historical, cultural spin that I couldn't put down. Excellent read.
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Fascinating piece of history, the impact of war and another culture. Definitely recommend this.
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I just love this one!
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good book
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I loved every detail of Memoirs of a Geisha. Not knowing much about Far East culture, I feel like I understand it a little more now through the book. The way the geishas were described in their clothing and gracefulness is wonderful. It was also heartbreaking to realize the girls didn't have a lot of choices once they were selected to become a geisha.
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I was sucked into this book immediatley! This is a glimpse into a whole new life style and ethnicity. Very Good!
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Very fast read, much better than the movie!!! You really connect and fall in love with the characters. Couldn't put it down. This book is really a ticket to another world.
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I couldn't put this book down. Best book I've read in a long time! I found it fascinating, even if though it's fiction. I thought the last few chapters seemed to be lacking something compared to the rest of the book, but I was still sad to see the story end. I loved it! And it's SO much better than the movie.
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One of my favorite books and movies of all times! I just loved every minute of it, the author makes it feel like you are right there in the story with her! love love love it!
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A lot of my friends see this a great classic, but I could not stay with it.
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10 times better than the movie - couldn't put it down!
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It immerses the reader in an exotic world. Impressive and unusual details of geisha life.
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A bit hard to get into at first but a very interesting and exotic read.
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A fascinating look into an often misunderstood culture.
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You can almost step into her shoes it is so well written.
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Very interesting, compelling story.
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Great read.
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This was a great book. Very interesting if you want to learn more about the life of a geisha.
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I loved this book so much I could not put it down! I have read it twice! It was way better than the movie.
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The book is MUCH better then the movie.
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I loved this book, very moving and what a strong lady she was.
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In Memoirs of a Geisha we enter a world where appearances are paramount-where a girls virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder. Where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men-where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction-at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful and completely unforgettable.
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Loved this book the detail was amazing and truly kept my interest. I watched the movie first and then read the book. After reading the book so many things made so much more sense!! I can't wait to watch the movie again to bring the both together again. I highly recommened this book to everyone. I originally was not interested in this book until 2 of my friends said it was wonderful and they were completely right. Happy reading.
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Beautiful, lyrical and wonderfully written. A must-read!
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really amazing book!! sooo much better than the movie! loved it!!
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Wonderful.
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I really loved this book. It is a well told story. It is a book that describes things so well you feel like you are there. Read this before seeing the movie!
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I loved this book! It was so interesting to read about a different culture. The characters were interesting and I kept wanting to read more. Definitely better than the movie!
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Very interesting. Slightly long but pretty good
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Golden's is some of the most beautiful prose I've read. His characters are endearing and fascinating. I could not put this down.
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Good reading the story went nowhere , frustrating!
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very very good!!
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Fascinating portrayal of Geishas in the early 1900s.
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Excellent historical story, very worth the read.
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Absolutely wonderful. Loved it!
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I was very dissappointed to discover that this story was not true, as I had first assumed. It was wonderfully written, and I fell in love with the main character very quickly. It also heightened my love of japanese culture -- and the descriptions of the war were so vivid, you would almost think it was still happening today!
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Good book; basis for the movie
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Facinating story!!
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Excellent read
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The book is always better than the movie...
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I had heard of Geishas but never really understood their way of life. Golden opened my eyes to this beautiful world which they live and helped me not only understand why they live this way but helped me to respect it. Every culture is different and diverse, each has it's hardships and it's beauty, Geisha lead a complicated, sad lifestyle but it is amazing how strong of women they are to do what they do.
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Great story. Interesting to learn about the Geisha culture and a great love story.
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My wife read it -- she was not thrilled.
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As an otaku, I could sort of tell the differences between fact and fiction with this book. However, when taken with a grain of salt the book is a fantastic story and very compelling read.
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A very interesting and revealing look into an unusual lifestyle
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In this literary tour de force, novelist Arthur Golden enters a remote and shimmeringly exotic world. For the protagonist of this peerlessly observant first novel is Sayuri, one of Japan's most celebrated geisha, a woman who is both performer and courtesan, slave and goddess.

We follow Sayuri from her childhood in an impoverished fishing village, where in 1929, she is sold to a representative of a geisha house, who is drawn by the child's unusual blue-grey eyes. From there she is taken to Gion, the pleasure district of Kyoto. She is nine years old. In the years that follow, as she works to pay back the price of her purchase, Sayuri will be schooled in music and dance, learn to apply the geisha's elaborate makeup, wear elaborate kimono, and care for a coiffure so fragile that it requires a special pillow. She will also acquire a magnanimous tutor and a venomous rival. Surviving the intrigues of her trade and the upheavals of war, the resourceful Sayuri is a romantic heroine on the order of Jane Eyre and Scarlett O'Hara. And Memoirs of a Geisha is a triumphant work - suspenseful, and utterly persuasive.
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The book on which the recent major motion picture was based on.
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A fictional memoir of a geisha written by a Western male. There were interesting details about the geisha life, but as a novel, it was pretty weak: there was a plot that involved the love sickness of the protagonist; there was some slight and flimsy characterization; and there was a plethora of platitudes and cliches.
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Loved it. I saw the movie a few years back and was worried that having seen the movie would ruin the book experience for me. Fortunately, I only saw the movie once and didn't remember what happened between the main character and the chairman. There is also a lot of detail in the book that is not in the movie. I would read and read and look up and realize that I'd been reading for several hours. A story that is very easy to get into.
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A friend lent me this book, saying that it was her favorite. Definately not the kind of book I usually read but I LOVED it!!!
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This is an incredibly engrossing book which explores all the emotions of a lifetime in a wonderfully detailed historical setting. Great reading!
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Beautiful. One of my most favortite works.
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To me, this book was a great beach read - a page-turner, with a lot of fascinating details about the world of geishas, which I knew very little about. You identify with Sayuri's desperation to escape the brutal poverty of her childhood, her limited choices, and later her determination to escape the gilded cage of the geisha house and gain her own freedom. The novel is driven by the emotion of the story, not so much the cleverness of the writing, which in many places felt a little cliche and flat to me. This book is like candy, I enjoyed it while it lasted but once I finished it, didn't give it a second thought. A good one to pass on to friends when you're done.
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Interesting. Not like anything I've ever read.
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If you liked the movie, read the book. It explains so many things in the movie that I missed or didn't understand. It is a long book, but well worth it. And it's so interesting, you want to keep going.
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Great book!!. Fast read.
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Amazing novel, so vivid, you won't want to put it down!
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Of course this book was way better than the movie.
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EXCELLENT READ! LOVED IT!
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Stunning to read, before or after seeing the equally beautiful movie.
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The story of a young girl brought to Gion to become a geisha. She is like water and find herself making her way to the very top of the geisha list. A beautiful love story between Saiyuri and the Chairman, i was ready to melt.
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Very good book. Some may find the subject matter objectionable; but it is very interesting nonetheless as it is a part of Asian culture. As you may know, a Geisha is a
high end ''male entertainer''. In a culture that gives preference to male offspring, girls are (or were, not sure if it still occurs) often sold as slaves, and the very pretty girls were trained to be Geishas. A Geisha often became a strong influence in politics and culture as they would be involved with very powerful men. You can read the book description for a good synopsis of what this particular character had to endure. I highly recommend the book, very well written.
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I've read a lot of books, but this is now one of my favorites. I can't say enough good things about it really. I became lost in this world and didn't want to leave it.
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I loved this book. It was a great story of love, loss, and survival. You can't but love even her nemisis.
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FANTASTIC read that captured me from the beginning and drew me right into the story. You have to read the book and see the movie. This is a fictional account based on actual fact and custom of Geisha lifesyle. I can't reccommend this book enough to readers interested in this line of reading-heritage, custom, women's fiction, history, it has it ALL!!
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The book is much better than the movie.
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Couldn't wait until it was over
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I had heard so many good things about this book but was never really interested in reading it, until I got a few chapters in. It's really good! You want to sympathize with Chiyo as the goes through so many things. And you want to hurt those who mess with her and betray her. Some of the names were a little diffeicult to grasp because they are so different than American names, but it's who they are. Some things the author seems to drag on about and in the end it finishes up super quickly. The thing that you wait for the entire book happens in about 5 pages. But it's a great book and you'll want to read it any chance you get!
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Stunning!! A wonderful read
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A fascinating look at the life of Geisha that will grab your interest and keep it until the very end. Beautifully written, but never slow-moving.
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I loved this book. Now I want to watch the movie again.
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Enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion.
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Excellent book, great writing. This is a book that gets you thinking and keeps you engaged with the main characters.
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This book is truly beautifully written. It is a love story combined with rich historical detail of a geisha's life. I loved it! Would recommend to anybody.
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I enjoyed the story very much! Parts of it were hard to follow, but then, it was not written in the style or content that I am used to reading. Haven't seen the movie, so only going on what I learned from the book.
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Fascinating reading of a culture very different from ours. I really enjoyed reading about a geisha's life and the hardships they had to endure.
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Oh my god! I loved this book, I felt like I was there. The movie did not do this book justice. The book is much much better.
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What a wonderful story!Quick read
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Beautifully written. I couldn't put the book down.
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Captivating.
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I LOVED this book. I can't wait to go rent the movie.
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i absolutely loved this book
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Just finished it. Read it in one day. Great book. Can't wait to see the movie now.
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A beautiful, poignant story...written in a superb manner. I thouroughly enjoyed this read!
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Very beautiful and descriptive read
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I LOVE THIS BOOK, A TRUE LOVE STORY AND ALSO SHOWING JAPAN A THE TRUE LIVE OF THE GEISHA'S ON THAT ERA. IF YOU READY THIS YOU WILL LOVE IT TOO.
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Absolutely riveting - I could not put it down. Excellent.
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an absolutely marvelous book - it kept me reading all the way through the very last pages - - - I couldn't put it down, I didn't want it to be over!
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Loved this one. Couldnt' put it down, or out of my mind once I'd finished it.
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This was one of the best books I've ever read. I couldn't put it down.
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If you're interested in the Japanese culture, lifestyle and mindset, you're going to enjoy this book. I loved it.
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really good book enjoyed it
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I could not put it down! So colorful, and emotional.
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Incredible reading that brings you completely into the world of a Geisha. Fascinating and hard to put down.
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Wonderful book. Very interesting insight into the world of the Geisha.
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Wonderful book!
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What a wonderful account of the life of a traditional Japanese geisha. I read all 500 pages in 2 days. Very impressive and a definite must-read! This is definitely added to my All-Time Favorites List!
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I was hooked from the first page! Amazing glimpse into a little know society/tradition.
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i loved this book, i couldnt put it down till it was done. this book isnt one that wastes your time with the ending left undone, it closes nicely
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 7 more book reviews
Mezmerizing - more enjoyable than the movie.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 79 more book reviews
I just loved this book.. the extreme detail you get is amazing!! was a great page turner from beginning to end for me!!
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Delightful insite to the world of Geisha. A must read. Now I need to go see the movie.
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At first I didn't know if I wanted to read this book, as the early events in the narrative are so heartbreaking. But as I continued reading, the tenacity and resiliancy of the main character kept me hanging on! I couldn't put it down. It is a gripping look into another world... and made me glad to be a 20th and 21st century American woman, to say the least. This one deserves to be a classic, alongside books like DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL (Anne Frank) and other books that open a door to another place, another time, and the women who lived it.
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Loved this book. Wonder story and so well written.
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I loved this book! Wouldn't watch the movie until I had completed it. The movie is no where near as good (as they usually aren't).
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After reading this book I knew I did not want to see the movie; however, it is a terrific glimpse into the culture of the geisha.
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5 stars-I read the book, then tried to watch the movie and the movie didn't compare-it didn't do the book's details justice. I highly recommend... you'll be transported to Japan with the author's beautiful descriptions.
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I loved this book. Even called in sick to work one day so I could stay home and finish it.
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Thought provoking and full of amazing cultural insights! Loved it
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 19 more book reviews
Loved this book. So different than my usual reading. I in depth view into the life of a Geisha...a must read for anyone...beautifully written.
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In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount: where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidders; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction-at once romantic, erotic, suspensul-and completely unforgettable.

I was pulled into this book from the first page and had trouble putting it down until the final page. An excellent read and made me want to search for information on Geishas when I finished.
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makes me wanna be a geisha...beautiful.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 4 more book reviews
Awsome awsome book!!! Much better than the movie and more detailed.
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A bit slow in spots, but an excellent read!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 496 more book reviews
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and trimphant work of fiction at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful and completely unforgettable.
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Very intriguing--hard to put down!
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Fascinating. A look into a different culture and the universal drive of people to survive and succeed.
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In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction-at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful-and completely unforgettable.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 278 more book reviews
awesome book !
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An enchanting, intriguing read. Well-researched, with lots of historical detail, yet full of heart. Beautifully written. Recommended!
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Absolutely amazing book, couldn't put it down!!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 35 more book reviews
Great book! Now I would like to see the movie to see if it is as good!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 30 more book reviews
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where woman are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction, at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful, and completely unforgettable.
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I couldnt put this book down. Bneautifuly written , seems so real u can seen and feel the textures of the kimonos.
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Great book! Very vivid.
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Saw the movie first; loved the book even more. Fascinating personal look at the mysterious world of Geisha women around World War II.
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I absolutely loved this book. It was breathtaking in its imagery. It's hard to imagine such a novel with such insight into a teenage girl's mind can be written by a man. Bravo!
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A fascinating glimpse at a culture that no longer exists.
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Wonderful book! Much better than the movie. Just couldn't put it down!
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One of the most beatiful books I've ever read. I didn't want it to end
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Riveting story, true to life. This was written by a man? Unbelievable.
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The book is a much better read than the movie gave it justice. You need to take your time and savor the world of the Geisha in the early part of the 20th century.
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Fantastic! I ended up sitting and eating lunch in the car so I could listen to it!
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I thought this was such a great book. It was hard to put down because I wanted to know what was going to happen to Sayuri (the main character). It was fascinating learning about the life of a geisha. This book is also being turned into a movie.
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Really interesting - a pretty quick read. I wanted to know more about this subject after finishing the book. Well done.
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loved it!
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A look into the customs and traditions of the geisha in Japan. It is romantic, suspensful and erotic.
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I really enjoyed this book until I read Mineko Iwasaki's "Geisha, A Life" which is a non-fiction account of being a geisha and from which Golden got much of his material. Still, this is an enjoyable piece of fiction.
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Gives you a great look at the world of geishas in Asia.
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If you've seen the movie and not read the book/don't have time to read the book - try the book on tape!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 118 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book more than the movie!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 526 more book reviews
Wonderful book, and this audio version is really great. Doesn't feel "abridged." Can't wait to see the movie now!
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Great book. Recommend!
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This is a hardcover edition.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 24 more book reviews
This is one of the best books I've listened to in a long time. I couldn't put it down. Loved it & highly recomend it. I had to splice one tape but I replayed it & its working fine. I may listen to it again before I put it up for adoption. Fabulous book. I highly recomend it.
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Loved this book! Another must read
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Written as though it really is a memoir. Very interesting telling of the world of a Geisha.
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At nine years of age Chiyo is sold to a geisha house. If she is obedient enough she will begin her training to become a geisha. If she is strong and talented enough she will rise above obscurity. If she is lucky and perseveres her fondest dream will come true. This is the story of the daughter of a poor fisherman becoming one of the most celebrated geishas in Japan. But will her status bring her happiness?

I picked this book up at a store after watching the movie by the same title and learning that it was based on a critically-acclaimed book. It sat there for several years because I always want to forget what the story is about almost entirely before I revisit it. Just so happened that its time came during the week of season finales of my favorite TV shows and let me tell you, it held my attention so completely that I couldnt put it down even to watch the highly-anticipated episodes. Luckily theres Hulu.
Golden's writing reminded me of oriental silkscreen paintings where elegant, almost ephemeral brush strokes create a very solid image that is earthy and organic and capable of turning a setting that isn't that attractive into something beautiful. Here the setting is like splotchy skin under flawless white makeup: the world of Gion revolves around money, relationships between men and women and reputation, children are essentially sold into slavery when they are brought to Gion to train to become geisha and when they grow up they are almost always the other woman in the lives of the married men who become their danna. The book is so masterfully written that I couldn't put it down, but it bothered me that while it is obvious that Sayuri regards her life as difficult I never got a sense that she sees anything reprehensible about it or the world she lives in. I still have a hard time coming to terms with this aspect of the story.
Even though I could not readily relate to any of the characters I enjoyed getting to know them. Their personalities unfolded gradually and in one instance I was even surprised by the turn of events only to understand a moment later that what happened wasnt all that surprising after all. Mameha in particular stood out in her role of a strict but kind and fair mentor because you could tell that there was much more to her than met the eye.
What made this book especially satisfying is that with the help of the foreword (or Translators Note, as it is called here) the story began in present day New York and ended there. That gave it a sense of completeness, as if the events came a full circle and had a true end. I highly recommend it to any avid reader and am seriously considering keeping this volume for my home library, which doesnt happen with many books I read.

Find my other reviews at bibliophilescorner.blogspot.com
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 2 more book reviews
loved it, found it hard to put down
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I was so surprised that I really enjoyed this book so much. I have read it several times over the last few years, buying and giving away copies to friends who have liked it too. I liked the characters, the story and the ending. Found it believable and pleasing to read.
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This is a pre-war story of an 'ugly duckling' little Japanese girl who is sold into slavery by her unwitting father after her mother dies. She and her sister are carted off to the big city and 'endentured' and sold separatley. This is such a great book that I was convinced it was a true story. The little girl grows up to be a famous geisha, then the war comes, .....
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This book gives you a peek inside another world. A really good read (much better than the movie).
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
Beautiful story.. I couldn't put it down. I got to learn about some of the Japanese culture. I read this before the movie came out, so I was excited when I heard about it but of course, the movie didn't do justice.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
The book had a deep story and it was very descriptive in every scene. It was way better than the movie.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 8 more book reviews
I thought this was a great book. Beautifully written. Faciniating insight into the Japanese culture.
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This is a very heart breaking story of two young girls & a family in need of money.Enough for the father to sell the girls into this life style.
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I absolutely loved this book. I couldnt put it dowm. I found myself wanting to head home on new years eve instead of staying out and drinking to see how it ended! P.S. after reading the book the movie is very dissapointing.
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There were some points where I was struggling to continue on, but I am very glad I stuck it out and finished it. It was fascinating.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 10 more book reviews
An amazing book, better than the movie :D well written and a must read book!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 13 more book reviews
I could not put this book down. A fascinating look into the world of the geisha. My book club raved about this book. Highly, highly recommended!
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A classic. Beautiful prose.
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Enjoyed this novel very much.
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While normally it takes me several weeks to get through a novel, I tore this one up in a matter of days. Gorgeous prose and a topic I'd never thought to consider made it very hard to put down.
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It's a novel I recommended for all my friends. It's a quick read, but wonderfully written. The storyline is interesting and the characters come alive in the pages. For me the cultural and historical aspects were quite fascinating. A great read.
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Very intense historical novel.
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Great book. Can the movie be this good?
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I really enjoyed this novel. Great storytelling.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 92 more book reviews
Absolutely one of the best books that I have read this year. Still wondering why it took so long to get to reading it. I am so looking forward to the movie. What a beautiful portrayal of the difficult life of a Geisha.
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One of the best books of the year for me.
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Interesting, but very slow moving.
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I could not put this book down,Honestly one of the best books
i have read this year.
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Easy to read, fascinating story.
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One of my all-time favorite books!
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interesting story - is slow in a few places, but very informative and written so that you become involved in the lives of the characters. Shows a culture that foreign to most Americans.
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i loved this book.....it was hard to get into , but once i did, i enjoyed it greatly......the movie followed the book almost to a tee!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 3 more book reviews
Wonderful book! I wouldn't put it down!
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The strikingly pretty child of an impoverished fishing family, Chiyo is taken to faraway Kyoto and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house where she is renamed Sayuri. Initially reluctant, Sayuri must finally invent and cultivate an image of herself as a desirable geisha in order to survive in Gion's cruel hierarchy. Through her eyes, we are given a backstage view of the ancient and secretive geisha district, Gion, and of the lives of the women who learn and practice the rigorous arts of the geisha. Behind its facade of haunting beauty the district turns out to be a viciously competitive place where women vie desperately for men's favor and largess, where a young girl's virginity is auctioned off to the highest bidder, where personal trust is almost nonexistent, and where no woman can afford even to dream about love or happiness. A timeless pocket of the world, Gion cannot remain cut off from the bustle of the modern era forever. When Japan enters the Second World War, Gion's isolation is finally breached and Sayuri must once again reinvent herself and her way of existence. Memoirs of a Geisha is a treasure of a book, an unparalleled look at a strange and mysterious world which has now almost vanished. It is also, and unforgettably, a dazzling portrait of a singular and most seductive woman who tells her story in a compelling first person voice.
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Evokes the atmosphere and the time very convincingly. Good character development.
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beautifully written, page turner
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A well-written and intriguing tale. I could hardly put it down.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 40 more book reviews
I had low expectations, but the writing draws you its world immediately. A great read.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 26 more book reviews
I loved this book could not put it down!Was so interesting real page turner!
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Fascinating read.
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Beautifully written prose--a very touching and tender tale.
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This is a really wonderful book. The story is great and draws you in immediately, and every paragraph is very descriptive. It is one of those books that stays with you after you're finished and you find yourself thinking back to it. I highly recommend it.
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really liked this book -it was so interesting and such a great story . it's a read you won't regret.
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Absolutely riveting book - I had to go out and read all about geishas, I was so fascinated by the subject.
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Probing, thoughtful look into the life of the classic Geisha. Kept my interest throughout, though a tragic tale right to the end. Bold move by a male writer to write as a female.
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A wonderful story - great descriptive writing you'll feel as though you are actually there
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this is a good book about a girl's life...she was sold to become a geisha
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Absolutely loved every minute!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 81 more book reviews
The book is soooo much better than the movie!
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Excellent book, facinating story! I can't wait to see the movie now.
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I LOVED this book. The movie does it no justice. Can't wait to read it again
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 7 more book reviews
Great read! Great story...stays with you...
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Oh my gosh, wonderful book. This was my second time to read it and it was even better the second time. The book is definately better than the movie in which they simply left out alot of the relationships. One of my favorite books of all time.
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Great book, I am glad I pick this one up. I was disappointed when I came to the end (the author's note) and discovered that it was not a true story. I'm not sure how I'd managed to make it that far without realizing that it was a fictional novel - that says measures for the storytelling ability of the author! I can't wait to see if the movie does it justice.
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One of my favorite books of all time. I think that I've reread this at least 9 times.
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What a great book - historical fairy tale and wonderful character development!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 39 more book reviews
I really loved this book. I recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read it yet. I would put this in my top 10.
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This is a great book. Make sure to read this before you see the movie because the movie does the book no justice. The story of girl who is torn from her family, raised similar to a slave but climbs her way to the top of the Geisha ladder.
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Wonderful to travel to a different culture and to discover so much richness. I love the spirit of the women in their limited circumstances.
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I really really really liked this book!
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This is one of my all time favorite books. It is beautifully written and keeps you captivated from the beginning.
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What can one say? Just a great book that everyone must read. Done with such deftness by a man, from a woman's point of view...Truly a pleasure
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I found this book fascinating. It transports the reader to a very different time, place, and culture. Definitely a good read.
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you've seen the movie - now read the book!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 10 more book reviews
eye opening awesome book.
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Loved this book. Couldn't put it down. A beautiful story.
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Beautifully written. Of course far superior to the movie.
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I LOVED this book more than I ever thought I would. Very touching.
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A must read!
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A difficult book to put down, very interesting to learn about a Geisha's life from begining to end.
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Not many books get 5 stars from me. This is one of the best well written stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Historical accuracy abound. Character development that rivals the greats. Climactic building that whirl you to the end without stopping. An absolute MUST!
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Excellent book; that said, i would never re-read it.
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Beautiful story.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 23 more book reviews
This is one of my favorite books of all time. It was wonderfully written with a unique and creative plot and fascinating characters. I highly recommend this book.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 3 more book reviews
This is a hardback copy. This book has been made into a movie recently but the book is much more descriptive and is a must read regarding the life of a geisha. It has love, jealousy, kindness, greed and all the emotions in between. I found it thoroughly fascinating. Once you get into it you can't put it down.
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What a great book! I loved it.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 352 more book reviews
This is an excellent book. It is a little long, but a very rewarding read.
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I loved this book! Have not seen the movie yet, but the book is really really a page turner and a glimpse into a very intriguing part of Japanese history and culture.
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Beautiful story. The book is much better than the movie, in my opinion, just much more detailed and fleshed-out.
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I loved this book. It was soooo much better than the movie! Its a definite must read
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This book kept me enthralled the whole time. I literally could not put it down. It's so poignant and wonderful!
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Another good read. Interesting to learn about the Geisha life.
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I thought this book was worth the read. I did think it slow at points but overall the story of an endearing Japanese geisha woman who lived through SO much was an eye opener for me. I cried at the end.
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I enjoyed this book a lot. I was very interesting to learn about the life of a Geisha.
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Predictable yet beautiful, impossible to put down yet slightly a disappointment. Great for those looking for a love story or something light and entertaining.
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Memoirs follows a young girl as she trains as a geisha. It is a fascinating book with characters that really come to life. It is easy to forget that what you are reading is fiction.
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Fascinating!
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MUCH better than the movie.....
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Very good reading, much better then the movie.
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A captivating novel of the life of a geisha.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 4 more book reviews
This was an excellent read I couldnt put it down.
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Book was way better than the movie. So, if you only saw the movie and thought, nope not for me, think again!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 18 more book reviews
One of my all-time favorites - couldn't put this one down. A must read!
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I was disappointed in this book, I guess it took awhile for me to get into it. Had heard rave reviews but it just wasn't what I thought it would be!
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this book I could not put down , it is an awesome page turner.
Gives a very good detail about a geisha life.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 21 more book reviews
Tells the story of the life of a Geisha.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 29 more book reviews
I think it is a MUST to read this book if you want to understand the movie. It is MUCH better than the movie..... but makes the movie enjoyable if you read this first. An in depth look at life in another country.
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beautiful love story
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I loved the book! Much better than the movie, IMO, because you get so many more details!! So much more emotion!! Beautiful story!
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Reading this book feels like reading non fiction...
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This is an insight into another life that I believe everyone could appreciate, but I found it slow. I suppose the greatest lesson to be learned is that there are flowers in every tree, good people in every society. And most are shocked to find that geisha are not prostitutes. it's a worthwhile read, but don't try it all in one day
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One of the best books I will ever read. It is a beautifully written story of a young girl, her training and her life as a geisha. The writers attention to detail is vivid and compelling. Do not start this book at bedtime because you wont want to put it down once you start it.
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Interesting as a part historical novel and presentation of a world not familiar to most people in the West.
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I read this before there was talk of making the movie version, and loved it. The author pays great attention to details, but not to the extent of being boring or longwinded, just enough to paint a vivid picture of this other world.
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fascinating story of a young girl growing up in pre war Japan and her struggle to survive after being sold into slavery, of sorts, and how she makes the best of it. i thoroughly enjoyed the book
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Loved every minute of the book. WIshed it didn't end!!!
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Great story, can't wait to see the movie.
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Very interesting look into the lives ot the geishas along with a tantalizing story of the competition between 2 of them.
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Good book
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Awesome book! Can't wait for the movie.
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Really amazing and beautiful.
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Great story. Well written. It was fun to be immersed in a place and time you otherwise would never experience.
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This is by far one of my favorite novels of all time. If you saw the movie...it just doesn't come close to doing it justice. I have read and re-read this book more times than I can remember. Wonderfully written about the loves, struggles, accomplishments, and sorrows of a woman who was once a poor young girl sold by her parents into slavery.
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A very unique look into a facinating culture.
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Wonderful!
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This novel is so much better than the film. A must read!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 9 more book reviews
Wonderful book! Couldn't put it down!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 113 more book reviews
This book was much better than the movie (as is usually the case). The detailed description of the class of the Geishas in that time period demystifies stereotypes that one could have of Geishas. Albeit not a book for readers who need action on every page, it is a beautiful story that unfolds over the lifetime of the main character.
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This is one of the best books I've ever read!!!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 10 more book reviews
Absolutely excellent! Read the whole book in 3 days. I just couldn't put it down. The imagry while reading this is just wonderful.
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A little slow, but overall a great look into a different culture and a different life.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 18 more book reviews
fast, yet fascinating read! Once you start it, you won't want to put it down 'til the end.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 118 more book reviews
Now.. i have to go see the movie! Awesome book.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 38 more book reviews
Really enjoyed reading this book. Very well written.
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very well written, great book!
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One of the best books I have ever read. Loved it!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 6 more book reviews
Excellent visit into Japanese culture and tradition. Helps give an understanding of a woman's place in a man's society. Much better than the movie!
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Amazing.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 110 more book reviews
I loved this book,I really hated for it to end. One of my all time favorite.I can't say enough good about it...A Must Read!!!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 107 more book reviews
this was a great book !!
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Amazing read
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I just could not get into this book... I tried... Everyone else seemed to like it though.
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I loved this book! I got totally involved in the lives of the geisha. Very well written.
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Good read!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 29 more book reviews
I loved this book. It is a great work of historical fiction.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 32 more book reviews
Wonderful story - Much better than the movie. A must read!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 35 more book reviews
Loved it. I have a fascination for the Japanese culture and found this interesting as well as a wonderful story.
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I had heard the movie was good so I thought I would read the book. I don't ususally care for this type of book, but I could not put this down. It was really, really good. It was sad, funny and some history too.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 8 more book reviews
Loved being transported to a whole different era, country and sub-culture. Unique and believable love story.
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One of my favorite books ever. Wonderful could not put it down
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 16 more book reviews
Beautiful story.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 140 more book reviews
~romantic,erotic and suspenseful,wonderful book~
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intriguing
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This book was an ok read for an audio book. The story was interesting. My favorite part was about when Sayuri learned about the eels and their caves. You will have to read the book to find out what I mean.
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the movie did the story justice because it was filmed well however the book is as usual, much more detailed and intense.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 26 more book reviews
Gorgeous! A must read if you breathe oxygen.
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So much more enlightening than the film.
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A must read for everyone. I couldn't put this one down.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 72 more book reviews
Wonderful book! Every woman I know who read it, loved it! We all agree - it's hard to believe it was written by a man!
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Loved this book. Great story and learned alot about the geisha world.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 35 more book reviews
Excellent book. breathtaking details and beautiful descriptions.
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fascinating
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 28 more book reviews
Great book, a classic giving insight into the Japanese culture of geishas
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An amazing tale...pulls the reader in the story.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 10 more book reviews
I loved it. Read through it in about 2 weeks.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 26 more book reviews
Fascinating read, much better than the movie.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 97 more book reviews
Seems like a pretty good story if you can deal with the hateful personality of one of the main characters. She does some pretty mean things to the young girl who is the main character. This made it hard for me to read and finish the book.
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BETTER THAN THE MOVIE!!!!
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Exotic and fascinating.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 40 more book reviews
Great book. I've been wanting to read this for a long time and I was not disappointed!
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Starts out a little slow but keep reading! VERY interesting book that really keeps your attention once it gets going. Highly recommended read.
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I rarely read fiction however this book was highly recommended by an erudite friend. It did nothing to change my mind about fiction.
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I enjoyed this book more than I ever imagined I would! A great book!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 29 more book reviews
Sad, funny, and full of love. My heart went out to this young girl for all she suffered during her lifetime.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 11 more book reviews
This is one of the best novels I have ever read. I enjoyed the movie, particularly as a visual treat, but the book is far better. It is captivating and beautifully written. It will fascinate you (even if you've seen the movie) from the very start.
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I couldn't put this book down! I can't wait to see the movie now.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 9 more book reviews
It's been awhile since I read this book. I held onto it for a long time because I just loved it. The characters are well developed and it really pulls you in!
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I really enjoyed this book,could not put it down!
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This book was great. If you liked the movie you will LOVE the book. I highly recommended.
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the book was better then the movie
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 36 more book reviews
A wonderfully absorbing story of the life of a young girl who is chosen to become a Geisha. Full of intimate detail regarding the training of these "hostesses." It is captivating, romantic, erotic and unforgettable.
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Loved this story!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 8 more book reviews
Loved this! Just wanted the story to keep going. Supports what I always say - "the book is better than the movie".
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 25 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. After all the hype, I had set myself up for dissapointment, but this book was en enjoyable read. I found the peek into another culture quite fascinating. The book was well written, and the characters were developed enough to make the reader emjoy them. The plot was well presented. Not a book I have to run out an buy so I can own it, but definately worth the credit I spent on it.
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I loved this story. I'd also like to see the movie. It was a wonderful sad story.
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I loved this book. It was one of the books that I couldn't put down. I enjoyed exploring the geisha life with the main character. The characters are very colorful.
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A true painting made with language. Such a beautiful story, full of rich detail. I've read it over and over.
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This novel is written beautifully, an account of Japanese life we never knew.
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Wonderful and interesting book to read. I loved it. It was hard to put down once you started to read it.
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This is a very unusual book which I hope you might enjoy. Frankly I didnt but to each his own.
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This is a beautifully written book, that pulls you in immediately. At the end I truly could not believe that this writer had put the whole story together himself. It truly reads like a memoir, and gives a very interesting glimpse into Japanese culture during that time period. Highly recommended.
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I found the details of a geisha's life and feelings to be very moving and beautifully expressed. However, I found the events leading to the ending to be totally disappointing, disgusting, and unrepresentative of the protagonists previous behavior throughout the book. I'm afraid that this ruined my good opinion of the book.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 142 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book - as did my husband & my mother. It grabs you quick, is very interesting & entertaining ... and I even learned a thing or two along the way!
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One of my all time favorites. I did not see the movie but think the book was probably better.
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Awesome book!! A male author has never recorded the emotions of a female so well!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 68 more book reviews
did not live up to the hype, in my opinion; very nice descriptions of kimonos and certainly reflected on geisha activities of which I was not previously aware
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A favorite book of mine. Fascinating characters.
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Great book!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 3 more book reviews
This story is exotic and takes the reader into a world very unlike our own. Although it is well written, I still don't understand why it is thought to be a great love story; you might disagree.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 42 more book reviews
Probably one of the best books I have read in a long time. Loved, loved, loved it! Great reading as well as educational!
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I absolutely loved this book.
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I loved this book! The descriptions and vocabulary were magnificent. An exquisitely written novel.
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A great eye opener into Japan's past. I loved it & can't wait to see the movie.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 20 more book reviews
I loved this story - very well written, very interesting look into the whole culture of the Geisha.
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A very well written look into the life of a geisha! I loved it!
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This book is so good. It well writen. After reading the book I saw the movie and it is in no way as good as the book.
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I really enjoyed reading this.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was hard to put down. Would definitely recommend it.
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Fantastic! Can't wait to see the film!
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I read this book before it became so popular and now I know why i loved it!
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Beautifully written book.
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This is a WONDERFUL book! It is quite possibly the best book I've read in years. The story is so engaging and the characters are hard to resist. At one point I found myself feeling very disappointed with the main character's behavior, but then realized this is how other characters must have felt towards that same behavior. A truely wonderful and unforgettable story!
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This is one of my all time favorite books! I was hesitant to read it because I didn't think I would find it interesting. I ended up glued to the pages and couldn't put it down!
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I thought it was amazing. I read it last when I was about 20, but I can recall in vivid detail the story and the characters. (I can't say this about many books.) It's written in a very concise way, yet it's still very artistic. Can't believe it's written by a man! Hope he doesn't get any backlash from Oprah-- it's called a "Memoir" and it's not true. LOL
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I couldn't put this book down.Icredibly interesting to see how the Geisha perform their duties.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 80 more book reviews
Fabulous look into that time period in Japan. Wonderfully written! Our book clkub watched the movie and we were very pleased! Excellent read!
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This book was so interesting and I felt for the main character so much that when she was sad, I was sad, when she was hopeful, I was hopeful. I had a hard time putting this down to go to sleep at night! It's is an interesting look into the life of a geisha in the 1930-1940's
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amazzzzing story.
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Wow. This is a gorgeous book. I was drawn in immediately and did not want to put it down. Opened my eyes to a corner of Japan in the 1930's and 1940's.
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Wonderful book!! Really draws you in. I could not put it down!!
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Outstanding read.
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Memoirs of a Geisha is a first-person account of how nine-year-old Chiyo becomes Sayuri, one of the most popular geishas in Japan.
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Incredible book
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 111 more book reviews
A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.

Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction--at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful--and completely unforgettable.
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Cultural truths regardless of which rumour you believe reagrding the author and her real life experiences. What is reawarded may change day to day. An interesting insight into a world steeped with tradition and cloaked in a shroud of secrets. What goes on behind the closed doors is perhaps not a surprise, but the mystery that has been maintained through centuries is the source of the intrigue anyway.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 11 more book reviews
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girls virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction - at once romantice, erotic, suspenseful - and completely unforgettable.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 389 more book reviews
Loved this book! A MUST READ if you have seen the movie. The movie just can't compare to this - it's so much richer and more detailed.
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In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction---at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful---and completely unforgettable.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on
http://libraryhospital.blogspot.com/2008/12/memoirs-of-geisha-by-arthur-golden.html
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 367 more book reviews
A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.

Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fictionat once romantic, erotic, suspensefuland completely unforgettable
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 60 more book reviews
Excellent!
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 12 more book reviews
I loved this book. It is slow to start and not a real page turner. But, it is a beautiful book. A work of art! Arthur Golden did an amazing job with this book!
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A fabulous story of struggle and overcoming adversity, Memoirs of a Geisha will transport you to a different place and culture.
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Well written. A lot to learn.
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I never read it, but everyone else said it was great.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 245 more book reviews
Great story.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 76 more book reviews
A look into the world of the geisha, told from a former geisha's point of view.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 12 more book reviews
excellent and well written, about a geisha life of pleasing others
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I didn't kow what to expect when I began to read this book. In fact, it was a slow read at first. But then I began to enjoy it and now rank it as one of my all time favorite books.
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I can't wait for the movie to come out! Fascinating story about the life of a geisha.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 355 more book reviews
I loved this book! I even thought it was non fiction, but found it was...but I became so engrossed in the plot..I couldn't put it down.
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A good slow read.
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#1 International Bestseller that spent over one year on the NY Times Bestseller list. - "captivateing, minutely imagined..a novel that refuses to stay shut. "
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 107 more book reviews
A story of a little girl living in Poverty in Japan, the man who took her away and the experiences and stages in her life that made her the woman she became. I knew nothing about the life of a Geisha. I somehow connected it with prostitution, and did not think I would like this book. It is one of the most beautiful stories I have read in a long time. I've never had much interest in Japan, but I saw it through the eyes of one who lived it day by day, and I was in awe as the story unfolded. I very highly recommend this book.
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Absolutely beautiful ...
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"enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion."
If you liked the movie you'll LOVE the book.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 2 more book reviews
"Memoirs of a Geisha" is in some ways a huge cultural leap for those of us who don't know the culture. In other ways, the ways men treat women in this book is not so foreign. I loved it and hadn't expected to - you end up with an unanticipated understanding of the appeals of this lifestyle.
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"I wasn't born and raised to be a Kyoto geisha....I'm a fisherman's daughter from a little town called Yoroido on the Sea of Japan." How nine-year-old Chiyo, sold with her sister into slavery by their father after their mother's death, becomes Sayuri, the beautiful geisha accomplished in the art of entertaining men, is the focus of this fascinating first novel. Narrating her life story from her elegant suite in the Waldorf Astoria, Sayuri tells of her traumatic arrival at the Nitta okiya (a geisha house), where she endures harsh treatment from Granny and Mother, the greedy owners, and from Hatsumomo, the sadistically cruel head geisha. But Sayuri's chance meeting with the Chairman, who shows her kindness, makes her determined to become a geisha. Under the tutelage of the renowned Mameha, she becomes a leading geisha of the 1930s and 1940s. After the book's compelling first half, the second half is a bit flat and overlong. Still, Golden, with degrees in Japanese art and history, has brilliantly revealed the culture and traditions of an exotic world, closed to most Westerners. Highly recommended.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 94 more book reviews
One of the best books I have read.
Loved this.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 56 more book reviews
I really did not like this one .
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 504 more book reviews
This ook was fabulous. I read it a few years ago & purchased it on audio because I enjoyed the story so much. It's a look into a very unique world.
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Wonderful story, full of culture, romance.
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Well written and engrossing story. For all Japanophiles.
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This is a riveting tale of the life of a geisha, coming of age in an unfamiliar envirnment which she makes her own.
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This book is absolutely incredible!
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Novel about a young girl and her introduction into life as a Geisha.
Note: All my books are first registered at bookcrossing.com and bear stickers inside with BC number.
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 4 more book reviews
interesting- can be slow in places - nice ending
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wonderful read
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Beautifully written and very addictive. I couldn't wait to find out where she went next!
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Little slow towards the last half but still couldn't put it down. Good Read!
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AWESOME BOOK!
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This novel presents the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.
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Very informative book into the life of a geisha which I had no idea about. Interesting and well presented. Would recommend.
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Pretty Good!
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"A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha."
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Amazon.com
According to Arthur Golden's absorbing first novel, the word "geisha" does not mean "prostitute," as Westerners ignorantly assume--it means "artisan" or "artist." To capture the geisha experience in the art of fiction, Golden trained as long and hard as any geisha who must master the arts of music, dance, clever conversation, crafty battle with rival beauties, and cunning seduction of wealthy patrons. After earning degrees in Japanese art and history from Harvard and Columbia--and an M.A. in English--he met a man in Tokyo who was the illegitimate offspring of a renowned businessman and a geisha. This meeting inspired Golden to spend 10 years researching every detail of geisha culture, chiefly relying on the geisha Mineko Iwasaki, who spent years charming the very rich and famous.
The result is a novel with the broad social canvas (and love of coincidence) of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen's intense attention to the nuances of erotic maneuvering. Readers experience the entire life of a geisha, from her origins as an orphaned fishing-village girl in 1929 to her triumphant auction of her mizuage (virginity) for a record price as a teenager to her reminiscent old age as the distinguished mistress of the powerful patron of her dreams. We discover that a geisha is more analogous to a Western "trophy wife" than to a prostitute--and, as in Austen, flat-out prostitution and early death is a woman's alternative to the repressive, arcane system of courtship. In simple, elegant prose, Golden puts us right in the tearoom with the geisha; we are there as she gracefully fights for her life in a social situation where careers are made or destroyed by a witticism, a too-revealing (or not revealing enough) glimpse of flesh under the kimono, or a vicious rumor spread by a rival "as cruel as a spider."

Golden's web is finely woven, but his book has a serious flaw: the geisha's true romance rings hollow--the love of her life is a symbol, not a character. Her villainous geisha nemesis is sharply drawn, but she would be more so if we got a deeper peek into the cause of her motiveless malignity--the plight all geisha share. Still, Golden has won the triple crown of fiction: he has created a plausible female protagonist in a vivid, now-vanished world, and he gloriously captures Japanese culture by expressing his thoughts in authentic Eastern metaphors.
From Library Journal
"I wasn't born and raised to be a Kyoto geisha....I'm a fisherman's daughter from a little town called Yoroido on the Sea of Japan." How nine-year-old Chiyo, sold with her sister into slavery by their father after their mother's death, becomes Sayuri, the beautiful geisha accomplished in the art of entertaining men, is the focus of this fascinating first novel. Narrating her life story from her elegant suite in the Waldorf Astoria, Sayuri tells of her traumatic arrival at the Nitta okiya (a geisha house), where she endures harsh treatment from Granny and Mother, the greedy owners, and from Hatsumomo, the sadistically cruel head geisha. But Sayuri's chance meeting with the Chairman, who shows her kindness, makes her determined to become a geisha. Under the tutelage of the renowned Mameha, she becomes a leading geisha of the 1930s and 1940s. After the book's compelling first half, the second half is a bit flat and overlong. Still, Golden, with degrees in Japanese art and history, has brilliantly revealed the culture and traditions of an exotic world, closed to most Westerners. Highly recommended.
-Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
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great read
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 162 more book reviews
Great!!! Excellent!!!!
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I loved this book
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Interesting look at a different culture's world.
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I didn't end up reading this but I hear it's good.
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Never read it.
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This is the Knopf hardcover edition, not a paperback. (The error is in the PBS computer source.)
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1999 printing. This book has been passed around quite a bit and shows a little wear. It is a wonderful, engaging story.