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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)

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (3784 )
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4.6 (1110 )
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1 star
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Story
4.5 (1098 )
5 star
 (722)
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 (272)
3 star
 (79)
2 star
 (12)
1 star
 (13)
Performance
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  •  
    Stephanie Cayce, SC, USA 12-14-02
    Stephanie Cayce, SC, USA 12-14-02 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    173
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    568
    59
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    4
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    Overall
    "Best Book in a while"

    This book was the most intriguing, fascinating book I have read in many years. I simply couldn't stop listening to it and I have recommended it to many of my friends. One of my friends even got a copy of the book for Christmas. No matter what type of story you like, I recommend you read or listen to this book!

    26 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Bethlehem, PA, USA 02-01-03
    Linda Bethlehem, PA, USA 02-01-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    202
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    200
    19
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    3
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    Overall
    "Excellent"

    This is on my top 10 list of books I'd take to a desert island, no, top 5 list. I was mesmerized by the haunting beauty of the writing. Especially as it is not the kind of book I would normally have chosen. I have recommended it to all fo my friends.

    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Baltimore, MD, USA 05-30-04
    Michael Baltimore, MD, USA 05-30-04 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    319
    ratings
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    196
    27
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    3
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    "In Defense of the Narrator"

    This is the best novel I have ever listened to. As a guy who spends at least 3 hours a day commuting to and from work, I have listen to a lot of audio books. I want to come to the defense of the narrator, who has been disparaged by several reviewers. She is perfect in every way. Her voice is beautiful and exotic. And she plays the part exactly as I envision Sayuri would speak if she were telling her story - elegantly, but with a matter-of-fact cadence and a detachment required for her sanity and dignity. Of course, you are free to question the wisdom of a guy who spends at least 3 hours a day commuting to and from work.

    27 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Shrewsbury, NJ, USA 10-22-03
    Christopher Shrewsbury, NJ, USA 10-22-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    2
    2
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    "Amazing!"

    I loved this book! I am a very "picky" reader and this book has it all - a great story, beautiful writing, engaging characters, excellent pacing and suspense, moments that will touch your heart, everything! I especially enjoyed the metaphors used by the author throughout the story and watching her learn and philosophize about life as it takes each turn for her. I also gained amazing insights into Japanese culture and human nature. This is a must read, a masterpiece, a manual for living all in one. I now enjoy the wisdom from having lived two lives: mine and one of a Geisha's

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alene Montgomery, TX, USA 12-12-02
    Alene Montgomery, TX, USA 12-12-02
    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
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    3
    3
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    "Memoirs gave me much to think about!"

    I did not expect this to be such a compelling, intriguing book. I had no idea I would yearn to hear more and more. At it's end, I am sad it's over but feel Sayuri has left me with many good things. I will listen to this again.

    I definitely recommend this book.

    41 of 43 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Hillsborough, NC, USA 10-11-05
    Kathy Hillsborough, NC, USA 10-11-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    1
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    "So good that I had to write my first review"

    Wow! I began listening to audio books about 6 months ago while commuting. I used to read hard copy of the usual predictable best selling fiction authors--crime, adventure, suspense, a little romance. 'Memoirs' was outside of my usual box and I'm thrilled that I did that.
    This has been my favorite and provoked me to write my first review. The narrator was wonderful and the story full of imagery and the characters were so richly painted for me. It's a gentle, thoughtful listen.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Newport Beach, CA, United States 12-10-04
    David Newport Beach, CA, United States 12-10-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
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    "So Real I thought it Was Non-Fiction"

    I bought the printed book some time ago but never got around to reading it so I decided to get the audible version. I am glad I did as it is probably the best audio book I have heard to date. From the very beginning I was entranced and drawn into the world of this Geisha. The accent and tone of the narrator was so appropriate it made me believe it really was Sayuri telling her story to me. I could not stop listening until the story had been told through to the end. In fact it wasn't until I picked up the physical book did I realize that this was in fact a fictional novel based on actual historical facts rather than a true biography.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary S 12-01-05
    Mary S 12-01-05 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
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    7
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    "Outstanding!"

    An absolutely fantastic journey into a world of heritage, culture, self-discovery, passion, emotion.....well, need I say more! Bernadette Dunne is an excellent narrator, who catapults you alongside each step of Sayuri' life. The author, Mr. Golden, is a masterful, vivid writer. Immediately, upon listening to the first couple of minutes, I was transported into each segment of the story.

    I am a Premium subscriber with hundreds of logged listening hours of fine books. This is the first time that I was moved enough by a great book to take the time to tell the world what a fine work of art Mr. Golden has given us. I can't wait to see the movie!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    01-31-09
    01-31-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    183
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    197
    43
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    7
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    Overall
    "Fascinating!"

    This was one of my first downloads from Audible. I found myself living with my earphones on and neglecting human interaction with my children and my husband because I wanted to continue the story and had to force myself to hit the pause button.

    At the very beginning, I wasn't sure I liked the narrator, but within half an hour, her voice became the voice of the geisha for me and by a quarter of the way through the book, I couldn't imagine another voice being able to set the proper mood.

    I thoroughly enjoyed peering into the mysterious and time-honored traditions of a geisha - fascinating! Definitely well worth a credit.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Evanston, IL, USA 02-08-06
    Amanda Evanston, IL, USA 02-08-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Perfect ---- in every way"

    As a fluent (second-language) speaker of Japanese, I was shocked to read that many found the narrator's pronunciation "incorrect". Ms. Dunne has narrated various accents, from a young Japanese girl to a middle-aged Jewish woman (Garlic & Sapphires...), and did a fantastic job with them all. Her pronunciation of the English language was done with the inflection of a native Japanese speaker. Please consider the artistry of speech when listening to an Audiobook. "Not taking the time to learn the correct pronunciation" may not at all be the case.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 278 results PREVIOUS1228NEXT
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  • Amanda
    St Pierre de Cole, France
    6/28/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A superb book"
    What made the experience of listening to Memoirs of a Geisha the most enjoyable?

    I loved the history lesson within the story, my favourite kind of book


    What did you like best about this story?

    The personal insight into the lives of Geishas was fascinating, a truly remarkable book, worth every penny.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lindsay¬†Kay¬†Caddy
    Guildford, United Kingdom
    5/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lindsay
    Camberley, United Kingdom
    4/14/13
    Overall
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andrielle
    Feltham, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Fantastic listen"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tessi
    Uk
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sally
    Maldon, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Beautiful"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • 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
  • Showing: 21-30 of 40 results PREVIOUS1234NEXT

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