This seductive and evocative epic tells the extraordinary story of a geisha girl. It reveals the cruelty and ugliness of life behind the rice-paper screens, and summons up more than 20 years of Japan's most dramatic history.
From start to finish, the listener is absorbed in the elegant spirit of Davis's performance, eager to hear the next chapter of Sayuri's transformation into one of the most famous geishas of the century. How unfortunate, then, to learn that book readers not only get the basic story, but a fascinating look at the intricate rules and rituals of geisha culture. Here, for example, is one of the many revelations omitted from the cassette: "Japanese men, as a rule, feel about a woman's neck and throat the same way that men in the West might feel about a woman's legs .... In fact, a geisha leaves a tiny margin of skin bare all around the hairline, causing her makeup to look even more artificial .... When a man sits beside her, he becomes that much more aware of the bare skin beneath."
We're also denied several subplots--the aborted friendship between Sayuri and a geisha named Pumpkin, for example, or much of the story involving the man Sayuri is secretly in love with. But what remains is as precious as a traditional Japanese kimono--at once artistic, suggestive and moving. --Ann Senechal --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.