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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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
This book is a page turner, and Chiyo is a sympathetic character for most of the story.
Such a beautiful work, which weaved a real life like story, it was difficult to believe that this was a fiction written very well.
One of the ways I like to rate books is how much I miss them when I'm finished and I feel as though I've lost a good friend.
The story of how Chiyo, a young girl from a small fishing town in Japan became Sariyu was fascinating. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Renee Eastman
Nice depicting of the real thing, end was a bit flat but all in all a good book.Published 1 day ago by eija roth
I tend to be a non-fiction reader, but I loved this book. Read it over again.Published 2 days ago by Alexandra Armstrong
This book is well outside of what I normally read. I downloaded as I am working through a list of 100 greatest books but I was viewing this one with a lot of suspision. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
Great book! Even though it was a historical novel, I'm sure a lot of the facts were true. I learned so much about the life of the geisha and it was not an easy life, for sure. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Mary Ann Esmerian
This book is written very well. The author does an excellent job of describing every detail of Sayuri's journey, that it's easy to get sucked into the story. Read morePublished 10 days ago by KimmyChanYo
Warm riveting story of a foreign way of life - humorous, sorrowful,
thrilling, hopeful, and anxious.