Book Review – Memories Of A Geisha

930This book was another selection from the book club I belong too. Would I have read it on my own? Probably not and I didn’t see the movie. It was released in paperback in 1999 so it isn’t a recent release.

The book is author Arthur Golden’s debut novel, but you’d never know it’s a first as it’s exceptionally well written. There were quite a few comments in the front of the book. One, from Houston Chronicle reads, “Memoirs of a Geisha is nothing short of astonishing…. Elegant and spare, but wonderfully evocative.” Boston Magazine calls the story a classic.

The story took me into an unknown culture as foreign as the land it’s set in, where young girls are sold and made to feel it’s an accomplishment to be a Geisha. It takes in the training they undergo and delves deep into their personalities and what shapes them to be manipulative, and even cruel.

The story is told in first person by Nitta Sayuri who is sold along with her older sister at the age of nine. It tells her story as she enters the world of Geisha. It’s a hard life so it’s no wonder the characters are strong, selfish, unkind is to gentle a word for them. Survival really is a matter of who’s fittest. I didn’t always like Sayuri, at least not toward the end. But then she had been taught by masters.

I had a hard time making myself believe that the story is fiction. It has 3268 reviews and  a 4 ½ star rating. It’s a thought provoking read, one that is going to stay with me for a while and one I’m happy to recommend.


11 responses to “Book Review – Memories Of A Geisha

  1. Thanks for reminding me of this book which I read some years ago but which made me cry at times. It does read like a true record of her life. What a life!

    • It was a book club selection and the woman that led it had lived in the village where it was set for three years (Kyoto) and returned last year for a visit. She brought a couple of obi and it’s unbelievable how long they are. Did you see the movie? I didn’t and the people that have say it was filmed in Kyoto and the film version brings the area to life. Maybe something to check into.

  2. I also read this a while back and found it a fascinating read. Thanks for the reminder.

    • I don’t know if I would have read it but for the book club. I’m so glad I did. This month the selection is a biography, Catherine The Great. It’s been eon’s since I’ve read a book like this one and I’m looking forward to it.

  3. I read this one a while ago, too. As I recall, it was really interesting and good. Thanks for the reminder about it. Jillian

  4. Oooh, those are the kinds of stories we live for, the ones that stick with us for a while.

  5. I began to read this book when it first came out but I couldn’t get on with it so didn’t finish it. Whether it was the mood and what was going in my life at the time that spoilt the enjoyment, but your review has inspired me to give it another try.

    • We only had one negative review from the book club members. But it isn’t a book for everyone and there are so many wonderful stories out there that if you don’t get back to it you’ll at least have started it.

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