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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 (4679 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.6 (1934 )
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Story
4.5 (1914 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Alan San Diego, CA, United States 01-01-08
    Alan San Diego, CA, United States 01-01-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    105
    ratings
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    102
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    Overall
    "Excellent"

    I enjoyed this story a lot. The narration is very good and the story is a great work of literature. Some humor, suspense, and adventure this story is a narration from the point of view of a young girl as she grows up in Japan before and after WWII. There is nothing erotic in this story. The ending is very sweet.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 02-10-06
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 02-10-06 Member Since 2003

    Audible Member Since 2003

    HELPFUL VOTES
    616
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    444
    68
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    36
    3
    Overall
    "Amazing and beautiful"

    It is almost impossible to believe that this story was written by a man. Still, this does not mean that a man cannot appreciate the beauty and near perfection of this story. An amazing piece of literature that I believe will be one which will endure through time as one of the great books.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila Gilbert, AZ, USA 01-20-06
    Sheila Gilbert, AZ, USA 01-20-06 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    90
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    187
    5
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    Overall
    "Ten stars"

    This is a case where a marvelous book is made better through the talents of the reader. The already poetic lines are skillfully brought to life and I found myself enthralled with a culture I had never before had any interest. This is, by far, the most enjoyable audible selection I have have the pleasure of listening to. It so far surpasses other novels that a simple five stars is not nearly enough.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suze Weinberg Jackson, NJ 12-21-05
    Suze Weinberg Jackson, NJ 12-21-05 Member Since 2012

    Queen of UTEE

    HELPFUL VOTES
    216
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    74
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    Overall
    "So Engaging"

    What a beautiful book. It's almost impossible to believe that a man wrote it. You "experience" every bit of the characters daily lives...you can practically see them by just listening to the readers voice.
    Now I hope I won't be disappointed by the movie because the book was simply stunning.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Veronica Ogden, Utah 12-04-05
    Veronica Ogden, Utah 12-04-05 Listener Since 2004

    carlskobe

    HELPFUL VOTES
    71
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    "Spellbinding"

    I've listened to the book three times and each time was better than the time before.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd Gainesville, VA, USA 11-04-05
    Todd Gainesville, VA, USA 11-04-05 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of the best books!!!"

    I expected an excellent book after reading the other reviews, but the book and its reader are even better. You will not be disappointed if you purchase Geisha.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebekah Reading, PA, United States 09-03-05
    Rebekah Reading, PA, United States 09-03-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Memorable"

    I couldn't stop listening. It was rivoting. What a wonderful story. I will listen to this one again. I understand that they have made it into a movie, too. I can't wait as I just can't get enough of it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill from Florida Florida 08-11-05
    Bill from Florida Florida 08-11-05 Listener Since 2004

    Bill

    HELPFUL VOTES
    69
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    "Unbelievable"

    This is a book that you absolutely do not want to miss.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise 08-09-05
    Denise 08-09-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    "Rivetting and superbly read!"

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

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Lafayette, CA, USA 06-05-05
    John Lafayette, CA, USA 06-05-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Jewel of a Journey Which Will Bring Peace"

    I cannot explain the power of this book, but believe it is the direct simplistic way a life of unimaginable horror begins and is endured with grace, intelligence, determianation and power taking the 9 year old slight girl with grey eyes, from the tipsy house in the lost fishing village at into the brothel district to be raised as a Geisha, journeying into the political intrigue and need to stay alive as war hits Japan hard and she finds protection and has longing for a special one who is unatainable. Unrequited love, at a distance is painful and beautiful. I can only imagine how loving a woman she became and if I had known of her I would have invited myself to tea to meet her. The story of how this book came to be is also a coup for the author who gained her trust, did not betray and elevated her journey in this world to one of spiritual validity. She transformed herself and all who came into her life, a simple daughter of an old fisherman, who became ... well you have to read the book to see the unfolding. The narrator is incredible drawing you in, pictures form, you taste the sea, smell the make-up, feel the presence of men gathering in the tea houses, sense the danger of war close by, the rustle of silk, and grasp the deep meaning of relationships and how she fostered nutured and treasured each and every one in a humble and honest way. She is a courageous woman who I have come to admire unabashedly.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • 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
  • Erica New
    12/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Captivating from beginning to end"

    For years I had avoided this book, despite its appearance on many "must read" lists. It was a fear of the unknown that drove me away, feeling that my illusion of the beautiful, delicate Geisha we see in the media would be shattered and that a sordid world would be revealed. Curiosity got the better of me in the end, and I am so glad that it did. Japanese culture has always fascinated me, and what I do know of it I find so exotic and vivid. The stunning appearance of the Geisha fascinates me, I find them almost mythical. When I started to listen to this book I was wary that it might descend from the opening tale of childhood innocence into a world of debauchery, but what I learned was that Geisha are just normal girls, transformed into beautiful creatures. I wasn't surprised to learn that sex was a part of the lifestyle - why wouldn't it be? But this discovery was tempered by the seeming innocence of some of the behaviour at parties that the Geisha attend as part of their daily lives. This was a fascinating insight into a culture I know very little about, but am now inspired to learn more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matsumoto
    10/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent story; average performance..."

    I think the key with any 'memoir', fictional or not; any biography or reflection, is to have some feeling in the story telling. Unfortunately this edition lacks that. Although it is well read, it is cold and matter of fact. Perhaps I'm missing the point, but it made the story hard to tolerate at times.
    Having said that, this is an amazing book. I've seen, read and now heard the story.

    0 of 0 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
  • 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

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