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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 (4093 )
5 star
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4.6 (1394 )
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Story
4.5 (1376 )
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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  •  
    Pamela North Hollywood, CA, USA 12-26-03
    Pamela North Hollywood, CA, USA 12-26-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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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 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
    ratings
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    94
    8
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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
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    1
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    "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
    37
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    18
    8
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    0
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    "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
    73
    ratings
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    243
    37
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    4
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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
    295
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    133
    56
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    10
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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
  •  
    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
    1379
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    "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.

    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
  •  
    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
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    "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 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
    ratings
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    14
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    "One of my top picks so far"

    Great story, and reader.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • 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
  • Rhiannon
    7/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent."

    Beautifully written and read. I have immensely enjoyed listening to this over the last few days. Very disappointed when it was over but only because I didn't want the story to end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lisa Crowe
    4/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating insight into Japanese culture"

    Brilliant story. An eye opener on a different take on society and women's place versus men. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter where you go it's the same world over. Men's abuse of power over women . Having said that this is first and last a love story. A story of triumph over opposition, a story of humanity. A story of a very different life. The comments regarding the narration are very unfair. It is a story told by a lady looking back on her remarkable life. A life of very defined behaviour told very well by the narrator. I found the narration very good to be honest and appropriate..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Welshy
    4/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"

    This book is a feast for the ears,a life story and a wealth of facts and history. It is so descriptive you feel you are there too! The authentic sound of the narrators voice adds to the charm. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emily
    4/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Incredible"
    Any additional comments?

    An incredibly moving and inspiring story and one of my favourites since I was much younger. Was upset when I found out it wasn't a real memoir however it was written so elegantly you really can believe that the author is an old ex geisha telling her story. Highly descriptive insight into a world we never really get to hear about and a wonderful novel.

    0 of 0 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

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