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Editorial 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.

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    3,779
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    1,297
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    341
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    80
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    59

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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    1,865
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    599
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    204
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    30
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    36

Story

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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    530
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    22
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    20
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  • Overall

One of my top picks so far

Great story, and reader.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alan
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 01-01-08

Excellent

I enjoyed this story a lot. The narration is very good and the story is a great work of literature. Some humor, suspense, and adventure this story is a narration from the point of view of a young girl as she grows up in Japan before and after WWII. There is nothing erotic in this story. The ending is very sweet.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • JOHN
  • Plantation, FL, United States
  • 02-10-06

Amazing and beautiful

It is almost impossible to believe that this story was written by a man. Still, this does not mean that a man cannot appreciate the beauty and near perfection of this story. An amazing piece of literature that I believe will be one which will endure through time as one of the great books.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sheila
  • Gilbert, AZ, USA
  • 01-20-06

Ten stars

This is a case where a marvelous book is made better through the talents of the reader. The already poetic lines are skillfully brought to life and I found myself enthralled with a culture I had never before had any interest. This is, by far, the most enjoyable audible selection I have have the pleasure of listening to. It so far surpasses other novels that a simple five stars is not nearly enough.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

So Engaging

What a beautiful book. It's almost impossible to believe that a man wrote it. You "experience" every bit of the characters daily lives...you can practically see them by just listening to the readers voice.
Now I hope I won't be disappointed by the movie because the book was simply stunning.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Spellbinding

I've listened to the book three times and each time was better than the time before.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Todd
  • Gainesville, VA, USA
  • 11-04-05

One of the best books!!!

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Unbelievable

This is a book that you absolutely do not want to miss.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Rivetting and superbly read!

Do not read this in the abridged form - you will miss so much!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • Lafayette, CA, USA
  • 06-05-05

A Jewel of a Journey Which Will Bring Peace

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-04-17

Wonderful story, woeful narration

This is one of my favourite books, I'll never tire of it but I wish someone else had narrated it. She's very robotic and lifeless, pronounces things wrong and has very little differentiation between characters.
Still, the story is great, can't fault that.

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  • K.C
  • 05-23-17

A truly captivating story

This book was narrated beautifully, I was really drawn in to each and every character and could almost feel like I was there like a fly on the wall. I found the overall story shocking and sad most of the time but was so intrigued to see how it would end. I think the sadness that I felt was testament to the excellent narration skills of Ms Dunne, it really made me feel as if I were walking in the shoes of sayuri herself and all of the pain she experienced. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone asking.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-25-17

Amazing book.

This book is truly amazing. Someone like myself who finds it hard to knuckle down and read a book this one caught my attention and held it until the end. I have never before been so engrossed in a book. it is truly beautiful

  • Overall
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  • Ms. Cheryl Sim
  • 03-30-17

Remarkable

When the story first started I wasn't sure I liked the narrators voice, it sounded a bit automated. However I got used to it and the incredible story unfolded. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would greatly recommend.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-01-17

loved it!

heart warming story!! you get so involved and it felt as if I was a part of this world. it took me some time to get used to the narrator but she did a wonderful job doing characteristics. overall something I would listen to again.

  • Overall
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  • Sallyanne McCrory
  • 01-20-17

an amazing story. couldn't stop listening!!

a must read. thoroughly enjoyed this book. it's very poetic and I now need to watch the film.

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  • Story
  • Wosul
  • 01-08-17

Captivating and alien, it drew me in.

The dispassion with which she tells her story partly makes you wonder at her blindness to the warped ethics and inequality of the life she and those around her lead, and also wonder at her ability to live so long through the harshness of that and submit to it.

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  • Mrs
  • 12-10-16

Great book. Better than film. Well read

I love the narrator and the story was so interesting. Would recommend to any one

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  • K.M
  • 12-09-16

Didn't want this to end

I have read the book a couple of times, but hearing it narrated added an extra dimension - great story and excellent narration- recommended

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  • Story
  • RoRo
  • 11-14-16

Beautiful story, beautifully told.

A wonderful narration to a beautiful book. The story left me in tears.

Will definitely be listening to this again.