Monday, February 20, 2012

Book It - Memoirs Of A Geisha

This week’s featured book:

Memoirs Of A Geisha
Author: Arthur Golden


The protagonist of this peerlessly observant first novel is Sayuri, one of Japan''s most celebrated geisha, a woman who is both performer and courtesan, slave and goddess.

We follow Sayuri from her childhood in an impoverished fishing village, where in 1929, she is sold to a representative of a geisha house, who is drawn by the child's unusual blue-grey eyes. From there she is taken to Gion, the pleasure district of Kyoto. She is nine years old. In the years that follow, as she works to pay back the price of her purchase, Sayuri will be schooled in music and dance, learn to apply the geisha''s elaborate makeup, wear elaborate kimono, and care for a coiffure so fragile that it requires a special pillow. She will also acquire a magnanimous tutor and a venomous rival. Surviving the intrigues of her trade and the upheavals of war, the resourceful Sayuri is a romantic heroine on the order of Jane Eyre and Scarlett O''Hara. And Memoirs of a Geisha is a triumphant work - suspenseful, and utterly persuasive.

My Comments:

Originally, I truly believed that this was an autobiography of an actual well-known geisha, so I was slightly disappointed when I discovered that it was a fiction novel. But not for long. This story is so beautifully written that my disappointment quickly dissipated, and was replaced by awe by the fact that an American male was able to enter the soul of a Japanese woman and portray her life – her dreams, hopes, fears - so seamlessly.

In this book about perseverance, you will enter an extraordinary foreign world, and your curiosity about Japanese historical social structure, and the geisha culture, will be delightfully satisfied. The writing is superb. The story is compelling. You can’t go wrong with this book that is so gracefully written.


  1. I remember reading this years ago, I enjoyed it too!

    1. It's a great story. I saw the movie, but the book was much better.

  2. My sister has praised this book up to me a few times now. I had no idea it was written by a man - very surprising!

    1. It sure is surprising. Give it a try at some point. I think you'll really like it.