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Memoirs of a Geisha Audiobook

Memoirs of a Geisha

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Audible Editor Reviews

After the death of her mother, a young girl from a rural fishing village is sold to a Geisha House in the Gion District of Kyoto. Her fate continually twists, along with Japan's, before, during and after World War II.

This listen captures with great detail the lush glamour of a geisha's world, as well as the brutal realities of indentured servitude. The experience is superior to that of the movie, because each moment is mined for maximum insight. Protocols and relationships, even food and finances, are also meticulously described. The result is total immersion in this fascinating culture.

The narration may seem reserved, but that is appropriate given the book's setting. The sexual content is also very discreet and appropriate. Watching the movie is only getting your feet wet; get the full experience through this listen, a bewitching strong step into not just another time, but another world.

Publisher's Summary

Nitta Sayuri tells us in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate of her life as a geisha. Her story begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion.

It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction - at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful - and completely unforgettable.

©1997 Arthur Golden; Copyright ©1998 by Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Astonishing...Breathtaking...You are seduced completely." (Washington Post Book World)
"...a bravura performance, a first novel that provides a vivid view into a largely lost and secret world." (The Los Angeles Times Sunday Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (4864 )
5 star
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2 star
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4.6 (2110 )
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Story
4.5 (2089 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Linda Bethlehem, PA, USA 02-01-03
    Linda Bethlehem, PA, USA 02-01-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    221
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    200
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    0
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    This is on my top 10 list of books I'd take to a desert island, no, top 5 list. I was mesmerized by the haunting beauty of the writing. Especially as it is not the kind of book I would normally have chosen. I have recommended it to all fo my friends.

    27 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Cayce, SC, USA 12-14-02
    Stephanie Cayce, SC, USA 12-14-02
    HELPFUL VOTES
    186
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    568
    59
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "Best Book in a while"

    This book was the most intriguing, fascinating book I have read in many years. I simply couldn't stop listening to it and I have recommended it to many of my friends. One of my friends even got a copy of the book for Christmas. No matter what type of story you like, I recommend you read or listen to this book!

    27 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alene Montgomery, TX, USA 12-12-02
    Alene Montgomery, TX, USA 12-12-02
    HELPFUL VOTES
    53
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Memoirs gave me much to think about!"

    I did not expect this to be such a compelling, intriguing book. I had no idea I would yearn to hear more and more. At it's end, I am sad it's over but feel Sayuri has left me with many good things. I will listen to this again.

    I definitely recommend this book.

    42 of 45 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Evanston, IL, USA 02-08-06
    Amanda Evanston, IL, USA 02-08-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    1
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    Overall
    "Perfect ---- in every way"

    As a fluent (second-language) speaker of Japanese, I was shocked to read that many found the narrator's pronunciation "incorrect". Ms. Dunne has narrated various accents, from a young Japanese girl to a middle-aged Jewish woman (Garlic & Sapphires...), and did a fantastic job with them all. Her pronunciation of the English language was done with the inflection of a native Japanese speaker. Please consider the artistry of speech when listening to an Audiobook. "Not taking the time to learn the correct pronunciation" may not at all be the case.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. 12-01-05
    M. 12-01-05 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Outstanding!"

    An absolutely fantastic journey into a world of heritage, culture, self-discovery, passion, emotion.....well, need I say more! Bernadette Dunne is an excellent narrator, who catapults you alongside each step of Sayuri' life. The author, Mr. Golden, is a masterful, vivid writer. Immediately, upon listening to the first couple of minutes, I was transported into each segment of the story.

    I am a Premium subscriber with hundreds of logged listening hours of fine books. This is the first time that I was moved enough by a great book to take the time to tell the world what a fine work of art Mr. Golden has given us. I can't wait to see the movie!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Shrewsbury, NJ, USA 10-22-03
    Christopher Shrewsbury, NJ, USA 10-22-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Amazing!"

    I loved this book! I am a very "picky" reader and this book has it all - a great story, beautiful writing, engaging characters, excellent pacing and suspense, moments that will touch your heart, everything! I especially enjoyed the metaphors used by the author throughout the story and watching her learn and philosophize about life as it takes each turn for her. I also gained amazing insights into Japanese culture and human nature. This is a must read, a masterpiece, a manual for living all in one. I now enjoy the wisdom from having lived two lives: mine and one of a Geisha's

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael T Brannock 05-30-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    342
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    196
    27
    FOLLOWERS
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    3
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    Overall
    "In Defense of the Narrator"

    This is the best novel I have ever listened to. As a guy who spends at least 3 hours a day commuting to and from work, I have listen to a lot of audio books. I want to come to the defense of the narrator, who has been disparaged by several reviewers. She is perfect in every way. Her voice is beautiful and exotic. And she plays the part exactly as I envision Sayuri would speak if she were telling her story - elegantly, but with a matter-of-fact cadence and a detachment required for her sanity and dignity. Of course, you are free to question the wisdom of a guy who spends at least 3 hours a day commuting to and from work.

    34 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan 06-21-12
    Jan 06-21-12 Member Since 2011

    Tangential, eclectic, avid listener... favorite book is the one currently in ear.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2145
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    520
    226
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    170
    11
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I waited too long"

    I was afraid this book would contain graphic sex and I was hesitant to purchase it... waited way too long. Of course the story can't be told without sexual relationships, however, they are so beautifully and simply told that I couldn't find it offensive. Adult reading for sure...but not vulgar. Such a beautiful story, I came away not wanting to read anything else for a while and keep this one in my thoughts.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Frank California, USA 11-23-08
    B. Frank California, USA 11-23-08 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    3
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    0
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    Overall
    "BEAUTY AT ITS BEST!!!!"

    This book effectively brings to mind the vivid beauty of the Asian world. The images that the author describes are palpable. I saw the movie about a year or two prior to listening to this audio book. It definitely pales in comparison. Although the movie does a pretty good job of highlighting some of the main events, it does not do what the book is capable of, sharing with Western world the true life of the Geisha.

    I now have a solid, elementary, understanding of the Geisha. No longer does my mind immediately shoot to the image of a high classed prostitute, or call girl, when I think of the Geisha. The author does a wonderful job of fully explaining everything, while maintaining the compelling aspects of the story.

    Very riveting, exciting, sad, and beautiful, the life of a Geisha is a must read. I wholly recommend this book to anyone who appreciates beauty. The irony of the story is its paradoxical play on the complexities of manmade beauty. The Geisha must at all times be perfect while her life and love are sacrificed in an effort to give men, who choose her, absolute psychological, and sometimes physical, pleasure.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Lufkin, TX, USA 01-10-04
    Don Lufkin, TX, USA 01-10-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "A good story, well told"

    Even now, I have to remind m yself that this book is a work of fiction. The characters were all so vivid that I can picture each of them in my mind's eye, just as clearly as if I had spent many evenings with them, drinking sake at the Ichi-Rikki Teahouse. More than once, I had the sensation of being in another place, enjoying the company of an aging but still elegant geisha as she told me the fascinating story of her extraordinary life.

    This book is, simply put, a pleasure - not to mention a fine work that should stand the test of time.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Craig
    Denny, United Kingdom
    9/14/08
    Overall
    "Fantastic"

    This has to be one of my favorite audiobooks, the story is captivating and the book is narated well, i found myself being drawn into the world of the book and have now spent many enjoyable hours immersing myself within it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone - enjoy

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Olivia
    Solihull, West Midlands, United Kingdom
    7/18/10
    Overall
    "Memoirs of Geisha"

    Wow what a fantastic book. I usually make my audible download last a month but this has lasted a little over 2 weeks and that is with trying to ration myself. It is compelling and takes you into a whole new world. You learn lots about the traditions and way of life undertaken by these women. Their poise and desire to please belies the determination to succeed and get themselves out of their powerless position. Only slight dissapointment was not hearing more about her life once she moved away from Japan which would also have been interesting. All told a briliant read that has left me with a lasting desire to learn more about Japan and the Geisha.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Emma
    papworth everardUnited Kingdom
    3/4/10
    Overall
    "Awful reader"

    A fantastic book which builds an exotic and utterly foreign world. The reader however is AWFUL. I couldn't bare to listen to her for more than 5 minutes.

    Read this one instead, the reader is so poor it's not worth buying.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Nigel
    halesowen, west midlands, United Kingdom
    3/4/06
    Overall
    "Try it: it's worth it"

    I usually read more action based memoirs, or biographies. I had read so much about this book that, although I did not fancy reading it, I did want to hear the story. This book is read with an authenticity which brings it to life. The narrator takes you to the heart of the story, albeit that some parts of the story seem take time to be told, I found myself lost in the time it took to tell them. The most remarkable thing about this memoir is that the characters' lives overlapped mine by over thirty years, at times you will think you are listening to an account of the 17th or 18th century.
    If you usually listen to more action packed books give this one a go its one of the best true life books I've read, or listened to, in a very long time.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • David
    Llangollen, Denbighshire, United Kingdom
    2/28/06
    Overall
    "Wonderful"

    I never wanted to end and then it did. Now I'm lost, they don't get better than this

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Wosul
    UK
    1/8/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Captivating and alien, it drew me in."

    The dispassion with which she tells her story partly makes you wonder at her blindness to the warped ethics and inequality of the life she and those around her lead, and also wonder at her ability to live so long through the harshness of that and submit to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    12/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book. Better than film. Well read"

    I love the narrator and the story was so interesting. Would recommend to any one

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • K.M
    12/9/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Didn't want this to end"

    I have read the book a couple of times, but hearing it narrated added an extra dimension - great story and excellent narration- recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jayjay
    11/14/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautiful story, beautifully told."

    A wonderful narration to a beautiful book. The story left me in tears.

    Will definitely be listening to this again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bev
    6/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "amazing book"

    this is one of those stories that i keep coming back to. i must have read it a dozen times, and yet always find something new

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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