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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 (3630 )
5 star
 (2344)
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.6 (966 )
5 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.5 (957 )
5 star
 (637)
4 star
 (236)
3 star
 (64)
2 star
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1 star
 (12)
Performance
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  •  
    Todd Gainesville, VA, USA 11-04-05
    Todd Gainesville, VA, USA 11-04-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "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
  •  
    Bill Havana, FL, USA 08-11-05
    Bill Havana, FL, USA 08-11-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    65
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Unbelievable"

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

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Lafayette, CA, USA 06-05-05
    John Lafayette, CA, USA 06-05-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "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
  •  
    Amazon Customer Seattle, WA USA 03-09-05
    Amazon Customer Seattle, WA USA 03-09-05 Member Since 2004

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    12
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    0
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    "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 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    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
    20
    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
    40
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    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 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    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
  • Showing: 31-40 of 274 results PREVIOUS134528NEXT
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  • Andrea
    Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset, United Kingdom
    5/28/10
    Overall
    "Superb Book"

    I read this book years ago and loved it. I decided to buy the audiobook in the hope it would stand up to my expectations, usually in these cases it would fail but I loved it. Such a fantastic book and great to listen to. Will be listening to it over and over again

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Pauline
    Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, United Kingdom
    5/14/10
    Overall
    "So descriptive"

    I loved this book, you felt that you were there, the desriptions were very powerful and it was beautifully read. Having now seen the film, the book is so much better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emma
    papworth everardUnited Kingdom
    3/4/10
    Overall
    "Awful reader"

    A fantastic book which builds an exotic and utterly foreign world. The reader however is AWFUL. I couldn't bare to listen to her for more than 5 minutes.

    Read this one instead, the reader is so poor it's not worth buying.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    Rowlands Gill,, United Kingdom
    9/1/08
    Overall
    "Kyoto nights....re-told in the Waldorf Astoria"

    Much of the majesty of Kyoto is lost in this portrayal, but then you must question how much of the old kingdom is built on the broken lives that we see into in the depths of this book. At times it just seems like endless Dickensian squabbling of uber-Queen Bees and yet infused through the book is the stain of male imperialism and the female suppliance - refined into an art-form whose brutality is the shame-ridden secret at the heart of the life laid out for us.
    The act of betrayal - - and the sense of betrayal - is the missing from the film adaptation. Although the Chinese cast of contemporary beauties means that the cinema version cannot claim authenticity, it is somehow preserved in the book and is taken in full measure by the narrative delivery of this audiobook.
    Told by a Geisha to an American in a far-away city.
    Japan - and Kyoto as its essence - is a society of conflicting contrasts - beauty and disgust feed off each other with guile greed and grace. The quiet panelled rooms of the Waldorf are a quiet refuge in a world of careering madness - the gentrification of acquisition and that same greed. The overall impression of this listen is one of poetic simplicity - to visit the respective cities is to see the lie that lurks beneath, but to appreciate the artifice of a simple story told with poetry and greatness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • S.
    NEWTON AYCLIFFE, United Kingdom
    6/11/08
    Overall
    "An Amazing Journey through a Life"

    I found the book entralling, engaging and totally charming from start to finish. The narration brought the book to life for me. Would recommend the book to anyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fiona
    SheffieldUnited Kingdom
    2/27/06
    Overall
    "Unforgettable"

    A beautifully written and narrated book that I found very hard to stop listening to whenever I turned it on. Full of fascinating history and a story I shall definitely listen to again. I saw the film after hearing the story - I would not liked to have done it the other way round, although the film does keep quite closely to the book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • J-H2O
    9/15/06
    Overall
    "Memoirs of a Geisha"

    I thought this was excellent. Although initially wondering if this may appeal to women more than men, the story was intriguing, fascinating, at times moving and throughout, really absorbing. Once used to the slightly unusual narration, it became an integral (and actually essential) part of the overall presentation as the narrator clearly wanted to convey the 'Japanese' feel to the story. Like other reviewers, I found myself not wanting this to end. I can say with confidence that both men and women should really enjoy this title.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 31-37 of 37 results PREVIOUS134NEXT

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