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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.
I love this book so much I've read it many times and the imagery, always makes me feel like I'm right there. With all those in the book experiencing everything with them.Published 15 hours ago by Amazon Customer
One of the best books I've read. Page turner and love the historical facts intertwined into the story. I would give it ten thumbs up if I could.Published 3 days ago by candy butler
This book was amazing!! I loves the detailed environment rich characters and the engaging story. The language was beautiful and I enjoyed learning about the culture of japan in... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Margaret Carmel
This could have been a much better story of the author understood not to start out with a prologue so long and boring it set a poor mood to continue reading. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Gene
I have read a lot of books in my lifetime, including all of the literary novels I had to read in college as an English major. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Kristin
I have read this book several times, and watched the movie adaptation more times than I can count. Highly recommended!Published 11 days ago by Zana Zira