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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 (3723 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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Overall
4.6 (1054 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.5 (1043 )
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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  •  
    Susan Birmingham, AL, USA 01-09-04
    Susan Birmingham, AL, USA 01-09-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
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    67
    10
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    "A favorite for sure!"

    I have enjoyed this book so much, as have all of my friends who have read or listened to this. The book is excellently written, and the narrator does a fantastic job! My only disappointment is that the author hasn't written more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jerr Jackson, MI, USA 01-05-04
    Jerr Jackson, MI, USA 01-05-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Too Good for Words"

    This novel made me sit down and totally surround myself with the story, characters and events. Normally I only listen to a novel when I commute, but I just couldn't take the chance of misplacing one tiny morsel of this book. I brought my player inside and locked myself in my office, just so I could stretch out on the futon and finish it. Stunning, stimulating, sad, and triumphant. As soon as I finished my CD's, I sent them to my mother. She finished in three days and sent them to a friend. Nobody knows where they are today, but we think they have visited at least 22 people, all who had to lock themselves away to listen. Absolutely incredible and well worth every minute!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Beck Chester, MA 01-04-04
    Paula Beck Chester, MA 01-04-04 Member Since 2002

    baybay2

    HELPFUL VOTES
    288
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    118
    80
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    3
    Overall
    "Fabulous"

    This was fabulous. It was beautiful, and kept getting better. It took me to a different place and time. It is thought provoking...I didn't want it to end! Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joni Bucyrus, KS, USA 08-25-03
    Joni Bucyrus, KS, USA 08-25-03
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Execellent"

    The book is interesting and informative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ursula Columbia, MD, USA 08-22-03
    Ursula Columbia, MD, USA 08-22-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    54
    ratings
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    14
    10
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    "Must read"

    I just loved this book! I have the book version to everyone for Christmas.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darren Galveston, TX, USA 07-15-03
    Darren Galveston, TX, USA 07-15-03 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "Gushing for Geisha"

    As smooth and beautiful as a silk kimono, flowing like the waters of a fall as they lay down the length of the gown.

    Confusis say: One who listens is one who likes.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara 12-17-08
    Barbara 12-17-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
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    Overall
    "Memoirs of a Geisha"

    I love books that educate as well as tell a story. Toward the middle I would have stopped, except for the educational part.

    To me this book is worth a listen, as you might learn things about the
    Geisha life that you never knew.

    It gave a good lesson in how to communicate with extreme gentleness, whatever you might be trying to say, and how to manipulate situations when you cannot be direct.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Marie Miami, FL, USA 09-23-03
    Anne Marie Miami, FL, USA 09-23-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    0
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    "Good but drags"

    I was excited about this book throughout the first couple of CDs. The history it portrays is amazing, showing vividly the life of a Japanese Geisha during the first half of this decade.

    However, it is a play-by-play of this Geisha's life from early childhood to her last days as an elderly woman. After a while I got distracted and stopped listening for days. I picked it back up and it started moving quicker. However, one of my biggest problems with the book is that every other sentence includes an analogy. 'The water trickled down like... His beard seemed as a... The speckle of dust on the table looked to be..." I was really aggravated with this by the end of the book. I was looking for a clean simple ending and everything seemed to be an analogy. I guess I must be to practical for this type of writing.

    The narrator is OK not great.

    Again, I do recommend it for those that want to learn about Japanese culture and geishas in general (yes, the ones in the book are prostitutes) and have patience for convuluted writing that puts imagery before brevity.

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda Lawnton, Australia 09-15-13
    Brenda Lawnton, Australia 09-15-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
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    Performance
    Story
    "An amazing story"
    Would you listen to Memoirs of a Geisha again? Why?

    Yes I would, the story was brilliant and it was very well told. Over the days of listening to it I had a sort of want to be elligant just like saiori. This book really captivated me.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Memoirs of a Geisha?

    Learning about the ways of traditional Geisha was very memorable and so was the rest of the story, I won't post any spoilers though.


    Have you listened to any of Bernadette Dunne’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No I haven't, but she is a very skilled voice actor when she is repeating parts that others have said; men, old woman and little children, she has this remarkable way of changing her voice so that it sounds as you would imagine those characters to sound and if doesn't sound as if she is putting on a voice.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    A moment in the book brought tears to my eyes from happiness, and there were several parts that made me laugh.


    Any additional comments?

    I have never seen the memoirs of a geisha movie, but even if it is only 10% as good as the book is, I know it will be an amazing movie. This book is truly fantastic, it is one of those wonderful books that stays with you long after you have stopped reading (or listening in this case) even now that it's over I know I'll still be thinking about it often for days to come.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Fountain Valley, CA, United States 11-04-08
    Paul Fountain Valley, CA, United States 11-04-08 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    75
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    235
    44
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
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    Overall
    "Wonderful"

    This book was FANTASTIC... It takes you into a world not seen from the outside. congratulations

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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