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Memoirs of a Geisha Audiobook

Memoirs of a Geisha

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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

4.6 (5186 )
5 star
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4.6 (2409 )
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Story
4.5 (2388 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Katie Roe Seattle, WA USA 03-09-05
    Katie Roe Seattle, WA USA 03-09-05 Member Since 2013

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    56
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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
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    4
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    "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
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    "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
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    "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
    22
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    5
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    "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
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    "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
    5
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    "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
  •  
    GMD 05-05-04
    GMD 05-05-04 Listener Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Memiors of a Gheisha"

    Great book, well written. Having lived 3 years in Japan and being familiar with the culture it gave greater insight into the role of the gheisha and dispelled certain myths about them. Very entertaining and spellbinding.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy 01-24-04
    Judy 01-24-04 Member Since 2011

    jazkibbe

    HELPFUL VOTES
    31
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    "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 K. Freda 09-14-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    19 of 26 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Matsumoto
    10/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent story; average performance..."

    I think the key with any 'memoir', fictional or not; any biography or reflection, is to have some feeling in the story telling. Unfortunately this edition lacks that. Although it is well read, it is cold and matter of fact. Perhaps I'm missing the point, but it made the story hard to tolerate at times.
    Having said that, this is an amazing book. I've seen, read and now heard the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Rhiannon
    7/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent."

    Beautifully written and read. I have immensely enjoyed listening to this over the last few days. Very disappointed when it was over but only because I didn't want the story to end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lisa Crowe
    4/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating insight into Japanese culture"

    Brilliant story. An eye opener on a different take on society and women's place versus men. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter where you go it's the same world over. Men's abuse of power over women . Having said that this is first and last a love story. A story of triumph over opposition, a story of humanity. A story of a very different life. The comments regarding the narration are very unfair. It is a story told by a lady looking back on her remarkable life. A life of very defined behaviour told very well by the narrator. I found the narration very good to be honest and appropriate..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Welshy
    4/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"

    This book is a feast for the ears,a life story and a wealth of facts and history. It is so descriptive you feel you are there too! The authentic sound of the narrators voice adds to the charm. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Emily
    4/8/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Incredible"
    Any additional comments?

    An incredibly moving and inspiring story and one of my favourites since I was much younger. Was upset when I found out it wasn't a real memoir however it was written so elegantly you really can believe that the author is an old ex geisha telling her story. Highly descriptive insight into a world we never really get to hear about and a wonderful novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Adam
    London, United Kingdom
    1/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Robotic Voice"
    What did you like most about Memoirs of a Geisha?

    Great story, already read the book twice before, and still enjoyed the audiobook.


    What didn’t you like about Bernadette Dunne’s performance?

    I don't know if this is a production issue but the narrators voice sounds very robotic, to the point where I questioned whether it was actually read by a human.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fiona
    Bracknell, United Kingdom
    1/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent my favourite book by far"

    Fantastic listen , history , family true life . War
    Beautifully narrated could listen to straight again now .
    Thanks loved it Arthur Golden

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Arthur
    Gympie, Australia
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Way, Way better than the Film !!"

    This is a gripping story and the detail is incredible. It opens up a whole new insight to the world of Geisha. After finishing the book I just happened to be lent the DVD of the film. Well, dont bother, it was like watching an advert for the book !!
    This book is a thoughly entertaining listen.............I found it so difficult to put the head-phones down !!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joykie Burger
    Egham, Surrey, United Kingdom
    2/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating"

    A very compelling story so well written that I looked up the artist she mentioned, only to find he's a fictional character! She had me completely convinced it was all the truth. What I was told about Geisha's is totally different to what I now know. Maybe what I was told is the truth ... who knows?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Crackdown
    UK
    10/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A classic book in the making."

    I read the book when it came out, and thought then it had the makings to become a classic. Lovely to see in on audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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