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Memoirs of a Geisha
Memoirs of a Geisha
Author: Arthur Golden
Memoirs of A Geisha is an epic drama about the remote and shimmeringly exotic world of Sayuri, one of Japan?s most celebrated geishas. The novel has been a beloved bestseller all over the world and is now set to become the major movie event of the year. The film stars Asia?s most celebrated movie stars including Zhang Ziyi (House of Flying Dagge...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780307275165
ISBN-10: 0307275167
Publication Date: 11/8/2005
Pages: 448
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 532 ratings
Publisher: Vintage
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 111 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 28
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 + 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.
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reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 8 more book reviews
Loved this book! Another must read
reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 109 more book reviews
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.

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reviewed Memoirs of a Geisha on + 2 more book reviews
loved it, found it hard to put down