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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 (4683 )
5 star
 (3118)
4 star
 (1130)
3 star
 (310)
2 star
 (73)
1 star
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Overall
4.6 (1939 )
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Story
4.5 (1919 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (147)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Daniel Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA 05-26-05
    Daniel Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA 05-26-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Better than I expected!"

    My wife chose this book for a long trip but never listened to it. I gave it a try and ended up really liking it! It was a great micro-history of civilian life during the war (that's not what it's really about, but was an interesting part for me). The book dispelled some pre-conceived notions about Geisha that I (and I'm sure most other Westerners) had.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Seattle, WA USA 03-09-05
    Amazon Customer Seattle, WA USA 03-09-05 Member Since 2013

    I don't mind the long commute anymore. Sometimes I even drive around town just to get to place I can stop.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Amazingly Beautiful-Best listen I have ever had!"

    I've listened to this book several times. I had it on tape, but had to have it on CD. The first time I listened to it I wondered about the naration, but then I realized the narator was speaking with the same inflections as my co-workers from Japan. Suddenly it was real. When a friend was moving back to Tokyo I gave her the book in paperback for the plane ride. She looked at the title, smiled and told me her aged mother had been a Geisha in Kyoto just after WWII. We have talked many times since about the book and how a man could possibly write about something so very female as the life of a Geisha and get so much of it right!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Enid, OK, USA 02-13-05
    Robert Enid, OK, USA 02-13-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "A Tale of Strength and Courage"

    This is a wonderful and powerful piece of writing. The story is almost impossible to put down. The pace and plot are compelling, and the characters are vivid. The author finds drama in everyday life, and the narrator carries the story well. Set in a period spanning the waning days of the quasi-feudal Japanese Empire and the post war era, the story contains characters that resilient and true, placed in settings that challenge their moral fiber.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shana Redmond, WA, USA 07-04-04
    Shana Redmond, WA, USA 07-04-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "I couldn't put my earbuds down...."

    I'm not normally a patient listener. And I must confess, I've read Memoirs of a Geisha in paperback form and wasn't that impressed. But in this Audiobook version, the narrator is so skilled and so entrancing that I had trouble putting the book down. Her slow, thoughtful pace brings out the beautiful poetry of the book, in a way I hadn't properly appreciated when I rushed through it speed-reading. I found myself longing to hear more from Saiyuri, and made up excuses to go listen to my audiobook rather than watch TV.

    This is definatelly a must-listen book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie East Millstone, NJ, United States 05-11-04
    Laurie East Millstone, NJ, United States 05-11-04 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "An achingly beautiful book"

    Like many others have said, I too was reluctant to read this book, thinking it would not be of any interest to me. The reviews here convinced me to give it a try and from the first sentence I was utterly drawn in. This is one of the best books I have ever read, and listening to it added immeasurably to my enjoyment. This was truly a profound reading experience for me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronald Hampton Cove, AL, USA 07-08-03
    Ronald Hampton Cove, AL, USA 07-08-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    184
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    7
    Overall
    "Conspicuous Geisha's insight & Japanese life"

    Intriguing book that provided me insight into the life customs of a Geisha as well as people of Japan. A unique story that has elements of misfortune, overcoming adversity, romance, destiny, and lessons about the ways we idealize positions in life and how they don't necessarily come pass as we visualize them.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Inga Duncan Seattle , WA, USA 06-26-03
    Inga Duncan Seattle , WA, USA 06-26-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    43
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    8
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Excellent story"

    beautiful story, beautifully read. This is the perfect book for a long plane ride or a long weekend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marge United States 12-16-05
    Marge United States 12-16-05 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    5
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Unique!"

    I found this book fascinating and informative. It opens up the secret world of the Geisha during the 1900's. The writing is so personal and explicit it is fun to listen to and I did it several times without tiring. The narrator is excellent and keeps you imagining the author. It held me a captive listener.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary Dillon 05-05-04
    Gary Dillon 05-05-04 Listener Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    61
    6
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy 01-24-04
    Judy 01-24-04 Member Since 2011

    jazkibbe

    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    102
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Memoirs of a Geisha (unabridged)"

    Very Good -- I found it fascinating if not a little self-serving an account for the author. But she acknowledges up front that it is her perceptions which have to be a tad biased by definition. I would recommend to anyone curious about Japanese culture as regards Geisha.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Joykie Burger
    Egham, Surrey, 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
  • Amanda
    St Pierre de Cole, France
    6/28/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A superb book"
    What made the experience of listening to Memoirs of a Geisha the most enjoyable?

    I loved the history lesson within the story, my favourite kind of book


    What did you like best about this story?

    The personal insight into the lives of Geishas was fascinating, a truly remarkable book, worth every penny.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lindsay Kay Caddy
    Guildford, United Kingdom
    5/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent, a wonderful story and a real eye opener"

    This is a wonderful story, well narrated. I found it an addictive read. It creates a vivid picture of Geisha life and I learnt so much about Japanese and Geisha culture from this. You really felt you'd got to know the characters and I was sad when it was over. Definitely read this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lindsay
    Surrey
    4/14/13
    Overall
    "Memoirs of a geisha"

    This is one of the best books I have read (listened to). It is deeply moving and gives an insight to the life of a geisha. I would recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andrielle
    Feltham, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Fantastic listen"

    I really enjoyed this book, I am not generally a fan of memoirs but the writer in this case give such a detailed account of such an unusal life I could not stop listening. The story is sad, exciting, exhilarating, heart-warming and fasinating all at once. I would highly recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tessi
    Uk
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "let down by the narration"

    I love everything about this book and it sent me on a journey to read all I could about Geisha.



    I was really looking forward to listening to this but the narration is poorly carried out. In parts I can't work out if the sound quality is the problem or if it's the narrators voices changing. I was so disappointed, I returned the recording but maybe my expectations were too high as it's such a favourite book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sally
    Maldon, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Beautiful"

    I read this book a number of years ago and was captivated by it. The narration is spot on and I was disappointed by the audiobook in any way. This title remains one of my all time favourites. I will listen again in a few years time and be transported into the secretive and magical world of the geisha all over again. A must listen title.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eileen
    northampton, United Kingdom
    11/25/12
    Overall
    "Book good but"

    I read this book and its fantastic - listening s another thing, the narrator is dreadful, it's an American who reads in monotone- dreadful

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew
    United Kingdom
    9/24/12
    Overall
    "Cheesy with bad narration, but enjoyable anyway"

    There are a couple of strange things about this novel. First is the narration. I initially hated Bernadette Dunne's novel so much I wasn't sure I would make it to the end. I did eventually get used to it, though. It's not great, but with a little perseverance it does become listenable.



    Secondly, there's the introductory chapter, which purports to be the translator's notes. I was quite some way into this book before I worked out that it wasn't a true story, or even based on one. When I did, I felt like I'd been misled.



    As for the story itself, I certainly had no trouble becoming immersed in it and I really enjoyed it. It's hard to say why, though, because the characters were all very 2 dimensional as was most of the plot. I think it was ultimately carried by sheer cheesy feel-good factor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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