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