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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.
I really had no desire to read this book until a friend kept telling me how wonderful it is. He was right.Published 5 days ago by L. Brennan
I purchased the book to read while traveling but I have finished it three days before my trip. That's because I couldn't put it down once I read the first couple of pages. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Joyce King
An enriching read! One of those that broaden your horizon and understand a perspective life would not chance upon you.Published 9 days ago by Namrata Laungani
A wonderful read! Mr.Golden does a tremendous job creating a completely believable world. You'll want to stay there and savor each page. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Megan ACE
Love Love Love this book. I fell in Love with the story line and characters. I have always seen movies first and fell in love with them, so I then read the books. Read morePublished 20 days ago by K. L. R.