Customer Reviews

10
4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
7
4 star
2
3 star
1
2 star
0
1 star
0
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on 13 March 2003
Lesley Downer has written a real page turner. With exquisite prose, she introduces us to Madame Sadayyako, a Geisha who became Japan's first actress, who disappeared into the shadows of history. But at the turn of the twentieth century Madame Sadayyako was world-wide known and touched the lives of Picasso, Rodin, Gide, the Tsar of Russia, the Prince of Wales, President McKinley of the USA, and Puccini, for whom she was the model for Madame Butterfly. Downer has the background to make this episode in Japanese history come alive, having lived in Japan for over a decade. Putting herself back into Madame Sadayyako's era is no easy task and required complete submersion in Japanese culture. The photographs are striking and go far toward bringing Madame Sadayyako's fascinating life into sharp focus. We are in the hands of an expert. Downer describes sumptuously the sights, sounds and customs of an era gone by, which deserves to be remembered for its effect on the Western World. I recommend Downer's book highly. It is in that rare category of a good read - and a rattling good story at that, from which one can learn also a great deal.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2007
The tale presented to us here is a fascinating one, written in such a way as to leave you hanging off Downer's every word. She wastes not one, and the prose is highly evocative of the period. Madame Sadayakko comes across as a feisty character, and the author gives the answers to every question one could possibly have about her. Highly recommended, to both those who know much and those just starting out in "the flower and willow world"!

Unfortunately, the reviewer below has confused Lesley Downer with Liza Dalby, who DID become the only (to date) non-Japanese Geisha in Japan. Do not, however, think that Downer does not know her stuff! For those who are in doubt, not only should this book prove she does, but they might try reading her fascinating novel "Geisha: the Secret History of a Vanishing World" - a superlative introduction to the Geisha world and how they live day to day.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2015
Read this book and reviewed it as part of my university course. It is very engaging and well written, and is a real page turner. However, if you're thinking of reading this in order to find out about geishas in depth, then it is a little disappointing. It is really of more interest in terms of contrasting women in the West and in Japan.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2012
I was really touched by this book. At the end I thought 'How many of us are living lives that will make history?' It is well written and loved the deep haiku poems at the beginning of each section. Through this biography I understood better the place of Japanese women in society in the past, and their moral obligations.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2015
A very apt title to the book....Even now a 100 years after the events Madame Sadayakko is casting her spell on the reader and one cannot get enough of her. I went online after reading the book and was lucky enough to find some old post cards with her,one of which features in the book. I highly recommend this book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2007
This book by Lesley Downer is an well scripted and researched book. This a very descriptive account of the life of Madame Sadayacco. With her husband she achieved her success in the western world. The story of a elegant woman who decided to go into acting at a young age to support her husband and make his business a success in the west and in her home country. She was a mesmerizing actress and her exquisite dancing stole the heart of millions in the western world and still an inspiration to many women. However, in Japan her career choice was not appreciated and respected and both an actress and a geisha were counted as low career choices. She tried along side her husband to make her career a success in Japan, but wasn't able to. She decided to leave both professions at the height of her success to live an ordinary life.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 3 June 2015
For 1p I guess I couldn't grumble with the condition (which was rather bad). The literature itself was good and interesting, but because it is a non-fiction historical novel, I personally grew a little bit bored of it. It is definitely worth buying if that particular genre is what you like, and it is written very well. Just not for me which I found disappointing as I love the history behind geishas and Japan.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The author Lesley Downer is one of the western worlds experts on the life,times and mysterious ways of the Geisha.Having lived in Japan and being the only westerner to have worked as a Geisha, Ms Downer has produced a well researched and highly interesting account of Madame Sadayakko the first Geisha to travel to the western world and became probably the only one of her kind to become known outside of Japan.She had a varied an interesting life travelling the world,meeting famous people,performing with her acting troupe and also the many involvements of her own detailed personal life.
The book is informative in equal measures about both the ways of the Geisha and the rich history of Japan and should act as a companion piece to Lesley Downer's other book ,simply entitled "Geisha" which charts the history of the mysterious world and vanishing art of the Geisha.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 7 July 2015
good
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 19 March 2010
Madame Sadayakko was an amazing woman.He rocked the west world like there was no tomorrow. A must read as this was an amazing woman
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed

Autobiography Of A Geisha (Vintage Original)
Autobiography Of A Geisha (Vintage Original) by Sayo Masuda (Paperback - 5 Feb. 2004)
£7.19

Geisha: A Life
Geisha: A Life by Mineko Iwasaki (Paperback - 30 Sept. 2003)
£15.00
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.