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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 (4619 )
5 star
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Overall
4.6 (1883 )
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Story
4.5 (1863 )
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
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  •  
    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
  •  
    Pamela North Hollywood, CA, USA 12-26-03
    Pamela North Hollywood, CA, USA 12-26-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    6
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    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "A great book, although not a true story"

    I've been doing some research and, apparently, the story is fictional and not true as so many people believed, including myself. The story written by Arthur Golden was collaborated upon by Mineko Iwasaki, a real geisha who is still living today. If you are interested in her autobiography, she has written a book entitled "Geisha : A Life". I feel a bit silly now for having believed these people were real and I feel a bit disappointed that they weren't. I suppose, in a way, they were real because they represent a historical period and a way of life that really existed. In any case, the story is a wonderful one and I still very highly recommend it to everybody.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roadrunner At Large 12-16-05 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    94
    8
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    1
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    Overall
    "Beautiful"

    I just couldn't stop listening to this book. I have a long commute and I usually listen just in my car. This one I could not stop listening to. I listened at work and one night I just sat on my sofa listening for 2 hours while at home.

    When I finished the book I was on my way home in the car. I began to cry at the end. Not because it was a sad ending but because it was so BEAUTIFUL. The story is just so beautiful.

    10 stars!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Hillsborough, NC, USA 10-11-05
    Kathy Hillsborough, NC, USA 10-11-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "So good that I had to write my first review"

    Wow! I began listening to audio books about 6 months ago while commuting. I used to read hard copy of the usual predictable best selling fiction authors--crime, adventure, suspense, a little romance. 'Memoirs' was outside of my usual box and I'm thrilled that I did that.
    This has been my favorite and provoked me to write my first review. The narrator was wonderful and the story full of imagery and the characters were so richly painted for me. It's a gentle, thoughtful listen.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Newport Beach, CA, United States 12-10-04
    David Newport Beach, CA, United States 12-10-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    8
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    0
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    Overall
    "So Real I thought it Was Non-Fiction"

    I bought the printed book some time ago but never got around to reading it so I decided to get the audible version. I am glad I did as it is probably the best audio book I have heard to date. From the very beginning I was entranced and drawn into the world of this Geisha. The accent and tone of the narrator was so appropriate it made me believe it really was Sayuri telling her story to me. I could not stop listening until the story had been told through to the end. In fact it wasn't until I picked up the physical book did I realize that this was in fact a fictional novel based on actual historical facts rather than a true biography.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria 11-12-03
    Victoria 11-12-03 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    93
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    273
    42
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    5
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    Overall
    "Good Narration"

    I lost myself in this book. I found the narration appropriately subdued, and she expressed each character not garishly, but with appropriate expression and inflection. The story really steals the show, and you don't even notice the narration, which is the true litmus test of a good audio book (you forget you are listening to an audio book as the story plays out in your head like a vivid and continuous dream). I loved this story and the narration, and would recommend it to anybody!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen Tinley Park, IL, United States 03-25-03
    Eileen Tinley Park, IL, United States 03-25-03 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    311
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    140
    57
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    11
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    Overall
    "Fantastic story"

    I never would've imagined I'd listen to a book like this as I am usually a suspense fan. However, this book had me intrigued from the beginning. Even its length didn't seem adequate enough as I found myself wanting more. The writing is brilliant and colorful and the narration is perfect. A good friend recommended this to me, and I will pass the recommendation along to everyone I know. One's normal tastes in books doesn't apply here. This is a story you don't want to miss.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Warren, PA, USA 12-17-05
    Pamela Warren, PA, USA 12-17-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    4
    4
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    0
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    "Best Listen Yet"

    This story actually kept me SITTING IN PARKING SPACE listening to the end, after a 1-1/2 hour commute home. The narrator performed the many characters so well, and the story itself is informative, emotional, and captivating. To top it off, it's a true story.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mariel newark, NJ, United States 09-07-10
    Mariel newark, NJ, United States 09-07-10 Member Since 2010

    Hi, well first of all, I love books, I have been reading since I could remember. Is something that I'm very passionate about. BOOKS FOREVER!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    7
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    7
    20
    Overall
    "Wonderful!"

    This book was so inspiring and it was beautifully written. The author was fantastic and the narrator did a great job. I have read and seen the movie and listening to the book has been a great experience.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Halle Scott 06-02-10
    Halle Scott 06-02-10 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    14
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    0
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    Overall
    "One of my top picks so far"

    Great story, and reader.

    2 of 2 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
  • 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
  • miss E J Gray
    5/29/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Exceptionally enjoyable"

    The narrator helped this book come to life and you are immersed in the life of a Geisha.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • christopher james ford
    4/14/16
    Overall
    Story
    "LOVE the story but horrible natration"

    LOVED the story ( for the 5th time) but what a horribly narrated book! i coukd not find an alternative online although many years ago i had a copy read by someone else with a beautiful voice!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shon-EL
    romford, United Kingdom
    4/1/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tearjerking!!"

    I really love this reading. I've listened t it many times over the years as it was my frst ever audio purchase. every time is like the first. a touching romance. 😄😄😄

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Deborah Seton
    2/9/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating and entertaining"

    I knew next to nothing of Geisha before listening to this booking and found it fascinating.

    A very enjoyable story and well read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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