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Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel Paperback – January 10, 1999

4.7 out of 5 stars 3,231 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

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"Astonishing . . . breathtaking . . . You are seduced completely." —Washington Post Book World

"Captivating, minutely imagined . . . a novel that refuses to stay shut." —Newsweek

"A story with the social vibrancy and narrative sweep of a much-loved 19th century bildungsroman. . . . This is a high-wire act. . . . Rarely has a world so closed and foreign been evoked with such natural assurance." —The New Yorker

From the Inside Flap

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.
Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it.
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction--at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful--and completely unforgettable.

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
3,231 customer ratings
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Top international reviews

Kay
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books ever.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 27, 2016
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D. O'Reilly
5.0 out of 5 stars Now I understand...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 3, 2019
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Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 13, 2017
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 30, 2014
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Mig Bardsley
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 3, 2018
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NM
4.0 out of 5 stars Such a beautiful story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 18, 2018
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Fullarton-Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have ever read!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 30, 2016
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Marjorie Palmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Memoirs of a Giesha
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 29, 2014
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 11, 2019
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julie limb
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight of the the life of a geisha.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 11, 2019
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Joy
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvellous read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 4, 2019
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Mrs R
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly captivating
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 25, 2018
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Lily Lit
4.0 out of 5 stars Memoir
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 4, 2011
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S M Watkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Good insight to ancient Japanese traditions.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 10, 2019
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Truncheon999
5.0 out of 5 stars Book needed a wipe down
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 11, 2019
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