We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
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.
Regular Price:$38.60
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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 (4097 )
5 star
 (2680)
4 star
 (1024)
3 star
 (280)
2 star
 (67)
1 star
 (46)
Overall
4.6 (1397 )
5 star
 (989)
4 star
 (299)
3 star
 (82)
2 star
 (18)
1 star
 (9)
Story
4.5 (1379 )
5 star
 (916)
4 star
 (327)
3 star
 (107)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (15)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Shana Redmond, WA, USA 07-04-04
    Shana Redmond, WA, USA 07-04-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    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
    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 Member Since 2012
    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
    41
    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 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    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
  •  
    Judy East longmeadow, MA, United States 01-24-04
    Judy East longmeadow, MA, United States 01-24-04 Member Since 2011

    jazkibbe

    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    85
    17
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    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
  •  
    James Vancouver, WA, USA 09-14-03
    James Vancouver, WA, USA 09-14-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "ruined by the narration"

    This is an excellent book in print, but the audiobook was ruined by its inferior production. I bought it, but regret it. I have read the book; it is great. But this production--what a mess.

    The narrator really only reads the book--reading a book is quite different from telling a story. She is no voice artist. At first, I thought she was in character, as some sort of clipped and emotionless spinster, to convey the personality of this elderly, formal Japanese geisha telling her story. (Even that doesn't make sense, if you know the story.) But no. It is simply a very mechanical reading. You can hear the commas, the capital letters, the white space in between the words. You can't hear the spirit, the feeling, the charm of the chararaters and the plot. I never lost myself in the story, and I could never lose my awareness of the irritating, clipped, nasal voice of this woman reading a book to me as if it were for a test in middle school.

    I know Japanese and Japanese culture, but you dont have to know much about Japan to do better than this! The narrator attempts a Japanese accent at points, but it emerges as crudely Chinese. I could hardly believe what I was hearing--"Is this some regional dialect I am unfamiliar with?" I thought. The geisha serves a cup of "sackey" (sake). What is that? Romanized Japanese is the easiest language to pronounce: it is just like Spanish. Obviously this production got the short shrift, and I am upset because it is really such a marvelous book.

    16 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RacerX 09-24-03
    RacerX 09-24-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    104
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Wonderful story, excellent narrator"

    I was very pleasantly surprised with this work. I thought the story was excellent, as well as the narration. To me, the narrator's style (accent, attitude, etc.) made me feel like I was inside the mind of Sayuri experiencing the events in her life. I was also surprised at how much Japanese history, culture and philosophy is in the book, even though it is fiction. It definitely would be on my "top 10" list. And unlike another reviewer, I couldn't put the headphones down; I always wanted to hear just a little more.
    Highly recommended though. Very well done!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 07-24-14
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 07-24-14 Member Since 2014

    I have a rather eclectic love of books. I know what I like and I tend not to be a severe critic. If I enjoyed it, it gets 4 or 5 stars.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    57
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    116
    115
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    14
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "All I can say is Wow!"

    I purchased this book because I remember people talking about it, but I really didn't know exactly what it was about. I was very surprised that it turned out to be such a wonderful story...I think I expected more of a diary-type story, but it was so much more. Also, knowing so little about pre-WWII Japan, I learned a lot about Japanese culture. It was facsinating to me. I always thought that Geisha's were prostitutes, and although some may still define them as so, they really were artists. After reading the book, I rented the movie to see how they visualized it. It was a little different, but it did help paint pictures for me in the areas that I could not imagine. It is a lovely book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Fort Oglethorpe, GA, United States 11-27-11
    Rebecca Fort Oglethorpe, GA, United States 11-27-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    117
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Simply amazing!"

    This is now one of my all-time favorite books.

    The writing is so compelling I felt transported to the world of the novel at all times. My house was cleaner than it had been in months because I would look for things to do (clean) so I could listen just a little bit longer!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • 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
  • Kay
    Notts, United Kingdom
    9/11/12
    Overall
    "Riveting and beautifully read"

    I really enjoyed this-I went through a myriad of emotions whilst listening and felt I learnt a lot about the culture of Japan too. You will not be disappointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Maggie Kelly
    Moseley, United Kingdom
    9/10/12
    Overall
    "Lovely audible imagery"

    I read the text version of this novel many years ago, and remembered enjoying it, but finding it hard going. This is the way it was meant to be consumed in my opinion - you have a narrator who is simply talking to her scribe. That's the way Arthur Golden collected the many hours of memories, by sitting and listening to someone who was just talking to him. Bernadette Dunne has a great voice, good characterisation and never interferes with the flow of the book.

    There are good guys and bad guys (not always who you'd expect), there is love, loss and tea ceremony.

    In the end though, there are just so many things that are made real by the poetic descriptions. My journeys to work have never been so good!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jane
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    8/14/12
    Overall
    "Fantastic"

    It is great at some points sounds a bit computerized, and is in 3 parts so could become irritating but not so far.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Richard
    FAREHAM, United Kingdom
    4/22/12
    Overall
    "Wonderful"

    Another book that I've often thought of reading but have just never got around to. The superb narration really brings the book to life in such a way that I don't think anyone could fail to enjoy it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • P
    8/6/10
    Overall
    "A book to savour"

    This is a lovely book charting the journey of a impoverished Japenese village girl into becoming a geisha showing us the beauty, privilige and oppression central to this unusual life. A book about longing, love and destiny read at just the right pace in tune with the text, the language is replete with simple zen type images that are full of originality, for example, 'she had a cough a part of her as a song is part of a bird': 'I wasn't really thinking so much as struggling to put my thoughts into some kind of order. They felt to me like rice pouring from a torn sack'. A great story, a window on a disappearing world, a magical journey of pain and hope.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.