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.
"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)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"An Emotional Rollercoaster"
This was my first audible buy and it has really set the standard - I could not bear to be separated from my i-pod as I listened to this gripping story. I was completely absorbed by the story and felt I was sharing all of Sayuri's highs and lows - it was a real rollercoaster of emotions where I found my self screaming out loud at some points as you saw the naivety of some of her decisions/actions and cheering when certain individuals got their just desserts! My 14 year old son has also listened to it and enjoyed it as much as I did (although he probably wouldn?t admit it to his friends!) We both found it a wonderful, moving tale, beautifully narrated.
"Didn't want it to end.................."
Thoroughly enjoyed this. Had previously read the book (albeit some time ago)but none of the enjoyment was lost. Well written and ably narrated, you become truly lost in the life of a Geisha and of Japan before, during and after WW11.
"A remarkable life"
Beautifully written in an elegant style befitting its subject and brought to life by superb narration. I was carried along by the emotion in this captivating story. I did not want it to end.
I had no idea how good it would be but once I started could not stop listening !!! An amazing true story, beautifully written and always with such emotion and elegance.
I had Memoirs of a Geisha for several months before I listened to it. Somehow I thought it might be a bit dry but from the first few minutes I was captivated.
Information about how the author came to write the book is interesting and adds to the overall picture.
The personal story is told with great detail and no self pity - it is a fascinating insight into the world of Geishas and Japan at that time.
"Memoirs of Geisha"
Wow what a fantastic book. I usually make my audible download last a month but this has lasted a little over 2 weeks and that is with trying to ration myself. It is compelling and takes you into a whole new world. You learn lots about the traditions and way of life undertaken by these women. Their poise and desire to please belies the determination to succeed and get themselves out of their powerless position. Only slight dissapointment was not hearing more about her life once she moved away from Japan which would also have been interesting. All told a briliant read that has left me with a lasting desire to learn more about Japan and the Geisha.
"better than I thought it wopuld be!"
There were parts of this story that I found slightly dull, but at no point did I want to stop listening. I think it paints a colourful picture of pre-war Japan without lengthy or boring description. A little sadness, a little love, revenge and intrigue and a story that maintains a good pace throughout most of the book. I was suprised that such a story could keep me so entertained.
So much colour, texture and smells eminate from this book that I didn't want it to end. Dazzling story of a most misunderstood role in life.
I am somewhat bemused by the other reviews of this. The book may well be fine though to me the prose seems to be rather clunky - I can't tell - I may not be doing it justice as the narration is so appalling. The narrator has a painfully de-lib-er-ate style of delivery almost completely lacking in inflexion and expression - bizarre. To me it sounds like nothing more than an old-style voice simulator. Odd and near-unlistenable.
"Memoirs of a Geisha"
I thought this was a beautiful book, the narration was excellent and I enjoyed it enormously.
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