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Saturday, March 8, 2008

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Lit. Book Review: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

rate } ♠♠♠♠♠
genre } fiction | historical fiction | classic | japan | literature
release day } 22nd November 2005
acquired } 05th March 2008
publisher } Seal Books
format } paperback
isbn } 9780770429966
pages } 502 pages
source } bought
age group } 18+
interest } 18+
awards } -
Buy @ Amazon.com | Fenix Indie Online Bookstore, Brunei

Memoirs of a Geisha; Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a Geisha
by Arthur Golden

Via GoodReads
In this literary tour de force, novelist Arthur Golden enters a remote and shimmeringly exotic world. For 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 2 Cents
It took me a while to finish reading this book because I was really indulging myself word per word. You see, this book isn't the type of novel you should rush through. Regardless, the fact it is kind of wrong in some places, like the part where Arthur Golden mentioned about the "mizuage", the book pulled you in like a few other books could do. Plus it took me a while to actually pick up this book and I must admit I did watch the movie first, then read it, cause I don't want to be disappointed with the movie. The book itself is way better than the movie.



The book centers on a first view perspective of a geisha named, Nitta Saiyuri, who was born with the name Chiyo. Originally the daughter of a fisherman from small fishing village of Yoroido, Chiyo and her sister, Satsu; was sold off to Kyoto, one to an Okiya and another off to a brothel. Chiyo's early life in Gion was pretty much mostly hellish due to Hatsumomo (初桃), because she saw Chiyo's potential of being a successful geisha. There, she befriended another girl around her age nickname Pumpkin (おカボ). In the okiya she also met Mrs. Nitta, or "Mother", and Granny, the mistresses of the okiya, then there's also Auntie.

One day, she met a man that would change her point of life, the Chairman, and another geisha named Mameha (豆葉), who in fact is Hatsumomo's rival in Gion, who would trained Chiyo into a very popular geisha. Chiyo became Saiyuri and search for the man who leads her into becoming a geisha. Then time really came when they meet, but Saiyuri doesn't seem to get the opportunity to get his attention quite the way she wanted.

Over all this is an emotional book, way more emotional than the movie (obviously). Yes, I’m in one of those “Reading it is way better than the movie” sort of crowd. It was such a page turner that it’s hard to actually put it down when I have to go to sleep, or eat or work or other things I have to do. It’s an eye opener for one of the secluded chapters in the life of a geisha.

I would recommend this fully to any culture enthusiastic out there. But I wouldn’t place it in a school library, regardless how much I like to share this book, Just because there’s a few um.. inappropriate scenes for them students. Otherwise, it's a good read.

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