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 don't mind the long commute anymore. Sometimes I even drive around town just to get to place I can stop.
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.
It is great at some points sounds a bit computerized, and is in 3 parts so could become irritating but not so far.
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.
"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.
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
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.
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.
"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.
"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.
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.
"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.
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