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Customer Review

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sarah, 11 Sept. 2007
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This review is from: Geisha Of Gion: The True Story Of Japan's Foremost Geisha: The Memoir of Mineko Iwasaki (Paperback)
This is definatly an enjoyable read. You are bound to enjoy it if you like Chinese/Japanese literature and are interested in Geisha culture. You do take from this book an insightful understanding of Geisha training in Japan and other aspects of this e.g. tea ceremony, dancing, komono costume design etc.

The book also puts across effectivly just how much time, discipline and dedication is required to train as a Geisha.

However I feel this book falls down in quite a few areas. The progagonist Mineko definatly does come across as arrogant and self-important which is at times off putting. As Mineko trained so young and was such a dedicated student she does seem to have missed out on much emotional development. Reading another review on this book, I agree also that this does make the book a bit one dimensional at times.

Although the book flows well and is very readable the English is simple and at times disjointed or uses wrong expressions. A result of it's translation no doubt. So in terms of English literature I did not find it stretching my vobabulary/appriciation for the art of English in any way.

I also found the descriptions e.g. of the Geiko house very flat and one dimensional at times. Again in line with other reviews I felt this resulted in a slightly one dimensional read and would have benefited from using a more imaginative description.

One last point was the under developed/explained aspect of the protagonists' (Mineko) fustrations of the rigid and archaiac training system of becomming a Geiko. It seems to be only at the end of the book that we begin to learn this. As Mineko retired at the peak of her career at 29 I found this aspect to be unsatisfactory unresolved. For example, if this bothered Mineko so much why didn't she contribute to positivly try and change this for herself and others?

As the end of the book finishes rapidly with a summary of what happened next to Mineko it is hard to accertain Mineko's true depth of feelings/reflection of where she came from and acheived. I know others have mentioned how much they admired Mineko for her sheer determination and hard work. This, I would never knock her for. However for all the status and professional experiences she gained what ultimate price did she pay for this? If anything the book highlights a slightly sad and lonely childhood which Mineko seems to have blotted out by simply working herself into what could have been an early grave.

I did like this book but I wouldn't feel compelled to rush out and recommend it to others as a must read. But like I say if you like oriental literature you definatly will enjoy this one. And perhaps the fact that I've had all this to write about is no bad thing. It certainly has sparked a lot of questions and reflections for me reviewing it.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Jan 2013 22:21:36 GMT
JTS says:
Frankly, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who noticed the writer's style of slight arrogance despite all other successes of the book.
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