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Memoirs of a Geisha | [Arthur Golden]

Memoirs of a Geisha

In a voice both haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri describes her life as a geisha. Taken from her home at the age of nine, she is sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Witness her transformation as you enter a world where appearances are paramount, virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder, women beguile powerful men, and love is scorned as illusion.
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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 (3786 )
5 star
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Overall
4.6 (1112 )
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Story
4.5 (1100 )
5 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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  •  
    Bruce Tehachapi, CA, USA 11-23-08
    Bruce Tehachapi, CA, USA 11-23-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "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
  •  
    Denise 08-09-05
    Denise 08-09-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    "Rivetting and superbly read!"

    Do not read this in the abridged form - you will miss so much!

    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
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    1
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    "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
    14
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    6
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    "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 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
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    "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
  •  
    Victoria 11-12-03
    Victoria 11-12-03 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    65
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    37
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    4
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    "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
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    "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
  •  
    Beth Princeton, MA, USA 05-11-08
    Beth Princeton, MA, USA 05-11-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Beautiful Story of a Geisha"

    This is a beautifully written novel about one girl's very difficult life as she grew up to be a famous Geisha immediately before WWII and after. The descriptions are so detailed and realistic that it is hard to remember that it is a novel and not a narrative about a real women. Since listening to this book I have read other books about Geisha, and it is very close to the first person accounts of real Geisha. I highly recommend it.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Warren, PA, USA 12-17-05
    Pamela Warren, PA, USA 12-17-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    4
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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
  •  
    Gary Dillon 05-05-04
    Gary Dillon 05-05-04 Listener Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    "Memiors of a Gheisha"

    Great book, well written. Having lived 3 years in Japan and being familiar with the culture it gave greater insight into the role of the gheisha and dispelled certain myths about them. Very entertaining and spellbinding.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 278 results PREVIOUS12328NEXT
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  • Anita
    Bodedern, Holyhead, United Kingdom
    2/20/10
    Overall
    "Memoirs of a Geisha"

    I thought this was a beautiful book, the narration was excellent and I enjoyed it enormously.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • 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
  • 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
  • Adam
    London, United Kingdom
    1/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Robotic Voice"
    What did you like most about Memoirs of a Geisha?

    Great story, already read the book twice before, and still enjoyed the audiobook.


    What didn’t you like about Bernadette Dunne’s performance?

    I don't know if this is a production issue but the narrators voice sounds very robotic, to the point where I questioned whether it was actually read by a human.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fiona
    Bracknell, United Kingdom
    1/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent my favourite book by far"

    Fantastic listen , history , family true life . War
    Beautifully narrated could listen to straight again now .
    Thanks loved it Arthur Golden

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Arthur
    Gympie, Australia
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Way, Way better than the Film !!"

    This is a gripping story and the detail is incredible. It opens up a whole new insight to the world of Geisha. After finishing the book I just happened to be lent the DVD of the film. Well, dont bother, it was like watching an advert for the book !!
    This book is a thoughly entertaining listen.............I found it so difficult to put the head-phones down !!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Marianne Buck
    6/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another Country Another World"
    Would you listen to Memoirs of a Geisha again? Why?

    To make sure I didn't miss anything and also to listen to listen again to the way these geisha had to live back then.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The main Geisha because although she was being bullied by another Geisha she continued to fight her way forward in life in a hope that she would find her sister


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    When the main character overcame the bully


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It was a book I would have wanted to listen to in one sitting BUT it is impossible to as it is very long.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a travel back in time book and across to China and a different way of living.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joy Fancutt-Burger
    St. Albans, United Kingdom
    2/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating"

    A very compelling story so well written that I looked up the artist she mentioned, only to find he's a fictional character! She had me completely convinced it was all the truth. What I was told about Geisha's is totally different to what I now know. Maybe what I was told is the truth ... who knows?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crackdown
    Knighton, United Kingdom
    10/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A classic book in the making."

    I read the book when it came out, and thought then it had the makings to become a classic. Lovely to see in on audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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