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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.
I wanted so much to get to the end of this book and now that I have I feel just want to read it again.
I also found the writing style to be pleasant to read, and the character and plot development were more than adequate to keep me turning those pages.
Such a beautiful work, which weaved a real life like story, it was difficult to believe that this was a fiction written very well.
I first read this book years ago and thought it was quite good. I just re-read it, and wondered if I was drunk or crazy when I read it the first time. Read morePublished 5 hours ago by SFReader
One of the best books I've ever read, hands down. I was deeply moved. The author is extraordinary in description....puts you right into the shoes of this woman. Riveting. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Stasia Bliss
I have the movie and always wanted to read the book! The movie does the book no justice! I love it!Published 7 days ago by Usagi
This book was awesome. It truly kept my attention. I loved the combination of history and fiction in this novel. Great read!Published 8 days ago by Kassandra Pichardo
This was an interesting, entertaining, and informative story about a culture that I have always wondered about. I thoroughly enjoyed it.Published 20 days ago by decoratingfan