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Memoirs of a Geisha

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Book Overview

'An epic tale and a brutal evocation of a disappearing world' The Times A young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. Many years later she tells her story from a... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

8 ratings

Really good

Well written, great story

Fantastic book

I loved the story and how it was portrayed. I couldn't put the book down I finished in the first few days and then let my grandmother read it who also fell inlove with the story. I highly recommend reading

Nice read

This book was nice read.

Breathtakingly written, I felt I was sitting with Sayuri as she told me her story

This book was brilliant, and beautifully written. I guess the main thing you should realize is that it is fiction, although Golden based some of it on his interviews with Mineko Iwasaki, one of the best-known Geisha of her time. When the book came out she sued him for breach of contract, he had named her when he said he would not and she said he misinterpreted Geisha -that they were not high class prostitutes as she felt they were portrayed in the novel. Whatever the situation, this is a magnificent piece of writing, and highly recommended. Sayuri's mother died when she was a child, and her father sold her into slavery -you get the impression this was done because he knew he would die soon too and wanted to make sure his daughters were looked after. They were sent to the Gion district in Kyoto and Sayuri taken in to an Okiyo (Geisha House) as a maid. Her sister was not so attractive and was sent to be a prostitute in a different district. Sayuri nearly ruined her chances of becoming a Geisha by being rebellious and trying to run away. When she realized that 'outside' there were very few opportunities for her, she decided she wanted to become a Geisha and was taken under the wing by an older 'sister' -a well known Geisha. From this she rose to become one of the most famous Geisha of all time. During this time she entertained many men -but not ina sexual way. The Geisha were entertainers but not prostitutes -they were kept women by a successful man who they would join with in a ceremony -although not marriage. Through all this she is in love with a man who appears to not know she is alive. The descriptions are wonderful, the writing colourful, I really felt I was there. Highly recommended.

Un viaje a un mundo magico!!

Fantastico libro... una traduccion excelente! Hace tiempisimo que un libro no me permitia dejarlo hasta acabarlo. Cautivadora narracion que facilita no solo el sumergirse dentro del mundo tan privado de las geishas, sino indudablemente en el de la cultura japonesa. Se lo recomiendo con los ojos cerrados...disfrutelo!

An Unforgettable Memoir

I started reading this book because of the movie that was being made of it. I also became interested in it because in a small way, I was part of this whole phenomenon. I was hired as an extra in a scene of the movie adaptation. I started reading this novel and it was apparent from the first few pages how deep the story was going to be. I lived through the eyes of Chiyo who became Sayuri in the process of becoming a geisha in Gion. As I read through the pages, I felt all the emotions and went through all the experiences, mostly painful ones, of a young Chiyo and the turbulant years of the prominent geisha Sayuri. It's amazing how Golden, who is a Caucasian male, can submerge the reader as a Japanese Geisha in a very convincing way. As if Golden himself was Sayuri. Golden in fact puts us in Sayuri's shoes feeling all the emotions, good and bad of her world. When I was reading the last pages of the book, I felt so much sadness for Sayuri that a few tears fell from my eyes. The book covers her whole life, from her childhood life in Yoroido up to the end of her life in New York. The book was written in the manner that Sayuri was telling her life story. The story touched me and has given me the conclusion that our memories and the people we know or have known before have impacted us in some way and the memories of them and our experiences with them will become bitter sweet in our final days. I'm not sure how the movie is, upon writing this review, I have yet to see it. But I do know the book is an excellent read and will also burn in your memory with a bitter sweetness.

Fascinating culture - great read

I loved this book! From the minute I picked it up I couldn't put it down. It tells the story of a young girl sold into geisha training in Japan. I had no idea how much of an art form geisha was in this pre-WWII setting Gion and it was very interesting to learn so much more about it through the eyes of a young girl caught up in it. Sayuri is a wonderfully drawn character with a wide range of emotions as she endures cruelty, jealousy, misery and a whole new way of life and comes to accept it, excel in it and even embrace it. Particularly intriguing are the questions and conflicts raised by the novel about destiny, love, survival and tradition. The movie is coming out in December so I highly recommend reading it now.

Memoirs of a Geisha

This book is extraordinary, combining highly literary style with unusual subject matter, the world of the geisha. No, geishas are not high-class prostitutes, nor are they femmes fatales -- there is no comparable class of woman in Western society. In this piece of virtual historical fiction, we follow the life of a highly successful geisha from the time she was taken away from her parents at age 9 before the Depression. . . to her old age in Manhattan in modern times. Most of the story centers on the geisha's coming of age, struggles with other women and search for love (of sorts) during the 1930s and 1940s. Not only do we get inside the head and heart of one deeply sensitive woman in her particular world, but also see reflected the characteristic grace, stoicism and politeness of Japanese culture. We certainly would not wish to be a geisha. Yet,as we read through this gripping account, we couldn'tt help but wonder whether today's Western woman isn't "kept" in other ways. Finally, the author deals eloquently with Japanese spirtuality, and the protaganist's struggle to find meaning in her life and to deal with the loss of her family and other misfortunes in her childhood.This is a one-of-a-kind and beautifully written book.

Memoirs of a Geisha Mentions in Our Blog

Memoirs of a Geisha in The Great American Read on PBS
The Great American Read on PBS
Published by Beth Clark • August 17, 2018
The Great American Read is a PBS series that explores and celebrates the power of reading as the core of an ambitious digital, educational, and community outreach campaign designed to get the country reading and passionately talking about books. One hundred books, to be exact, so as promised, here are books 61–80 on the list!
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