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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.
A truly amazing story -- leans on the power of metaphor (so if that annoys you..).
If you weren't interested in Japanese culture or the mysterious life of the Geisha you... Read more
Was very passionately written. A little too detailed and unbelievable that Sayuri would risk her reputation rather than say no to nobu's proposal. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Luke Bray
Very interesting comparison of the Eastern and Western cultures here, and the role that women played in the pre-war times in Japan. Read morePublished 3 days ago by elizabeth c. isley
In Arthur Golden’s novel, Memoirs of a Geisha, we are presented a captivating part of Japanese culture. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Marmalade
A must read! I will definitely recommend to my friends. Beautifully written with colorful depictions of the Geisha culture in Japan.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
Simply amazing ! Dense yet intriguing.... Begging the analogy, that we are all Geisha in our own environments. Read morePublished 4 days ago by T & C