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Memoirs Of A Geisha Paperback – 1 Dec 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 593 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Film Tie-In edition (1 Dec. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099498189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099498186
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.9 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (593 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 106,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

According to Arthur Golden's absorbing first novel, the word "geisha" does not mean "prostitute," as Westerners ignorantly assume--it means "artisan" or "artist." To capture the geisha experience in the art of fiction, Golden trained as long and hard as any geisha who must master the arts of music, dance, clever conversation, crafty battle with rival beauties and cunning seduction of wealthy patrons. After earning degrees in Japanese art and history from Harvard and Columbia--and an M.A. in English--he met a man in Tokyo who was the illegitimate offspring of a renowned businessman and a geisha. This meeting inspired Golden to spend 10 years researching every detail of geisha culture, chiefly relying on the geisha Mineko Iwasaki, who spent years charming the very rich and famous.

The result is a novel with the broad social canvas (and love of coincidence) of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen's intense attention to the nuances of erotic maneuvering. Readers experience the entire life of a geisha, from her origins as an orphaned fishing-village girl in 1929 to her triumphant auction of her mizuage (virginity) for a record price as a teenager to her reminiscent old age as the distinguished mistress of the powerful patron of her dreams. We discover that a geisha is more analogous to a Western "trophy wife" than to a prostitute--and, as in Austen, flat-out prostitution and early death is a woman's alternative to the repressive, arcane system of courtship. In simple, elegant prose, Golden puts us right in the tearoom with the geisha; we are there as she gracefully fights for her life in a social situation where careers are made or destroyed by a witticism, a too-revealing (or not revealing enough) glimpse of flesh under the kimono, or a vicious rumour spread by a rival "as cruel as a spider."

Golden's web is finely woven, but his book has a serious flaw: the geisha's true romance rings hollow--the love of her life is a symbol, not a character. Her villainous geisha nemesis is sharply drawn, but she would be more so if we got a deeper peek into the cause of her motiveless malignity--the plight all geisha share. Still, Golden has won the triple crown of fiction: he has created a plausible female protagonist in a vivid, now-vanished world and he gloriously captures Japanese culture by expressing his thoughts in authentic Eastern metaphors. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

"'Intimate and brutal, written in cool, lucid prose it is a novel whose psychological empathy and historical truths are outstanding' Mail on Sunday"

"Endless and fascinating-a narrative that is both gripping and beautifully paced-a wonderful read" (The Observer)

"'This is a high-wire act. Rarely has a world so closed and foreign been evoked with such natural assurance' New Yorker"

"'Memoirs of a Geisha ' is the sort of novel that novel-lovers yearn for, which is to say, so convincing that while reading it you become transported to another time, another place, and feel you're listening and seeing with someone else's ears and eyes' Margaret Forster"

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have wanted to read this book for ages!
Does not disappoint! If you need to know anything about this gradually dying art form this
is the book for you! With added notes by the author well worth the money!
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I am very interested in different cultures and have of many different ones. I read this book many years ago but it stayed in my mind as one of the most memorable. I decided to read it again and enjoyed it just as much again. Arthur Golden has an enormous talent for making you feel there also his descriptions of emotions and places take you right into the story. Thank you Mr Golden for the pleasure you have given me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Memoirs Of A Geisha has always been among my favourite novels. It's a sweeping, romantic epic with richly drawn, believable characters and a hugely satisyfying narrative arc.
It's a novel which, once read, will stay with you forever - so vivid is the writing and characterisation.
A must read.
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Wonderful book, I'm not much of a reader and need easy to read books if I'm going to do it! This was perfect for that, it also ties in so nicely with the movie too :)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arthur Golden does a fantastic job of making this sound like a convincing biography. Every detail is perfect and the story is moving. The characters seem extremely real and the information given about the Geisha often proves useful.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Novel rather than a memoir, but still an interesting read. Gives an insight into traditions which have almost disappeared.
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Makes it so much better being memoirs.
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Good condition and arrived as stated
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