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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

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Very interesting & well narrated

This was a terrific audiobook adaptation of this novel. I learnt so much about the Geisha (about which I knew very little beforehand) and pre-war Japanese culture and thought the narration complemented the book perfectly.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nikola
  • Oslo, Norway
  • 08-20-11

Memoirs of a Geisha

I found this story absolutely captivating. I loved the reader, and everything about the recording, except for one thing - I think it was cut off too soon at the end. Audible, please give me a few seconds more before you break my illusion, please. I really was enjoying that background music.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • June
  • Baton Rouge, LA, United States
  • 06-23-11

Enthralling

After reading the book years ago and seeing the movie, I decided to listen to the audiobook and was not disappointed. The author has a way of drawing you into the story. The intimacy and vulnerability of the characters is moving and stimulating.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Debbie
  • Moura, Australia
  • 06-02-11

Excellent!!

Couldn't leave it alone!! Didn't really think that it was my kind of book, was pleasantly surprised and I think the narration was perfect for this book. Only gave it 4 stars because I initially had a little trouble getting into it.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • helen
  • ocean view, Australia
  • 11-17-10

loved it

I loved this book. The narrator was perfect and the images she conjured were vivid. Much better than the movie.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow, very good

Great story. Leaves you wanting more, never wanting to put it down.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Severe Abuse of Simile

Starts out promising with the little girl, Chiyo, but soon runs out of steam from the sameness in plot device and dialog. Wonderful narrator who did everything she could with the material. In the end, I felt I was getting a Westernized Geisha with an insipid life filled with drinking games, flirting, and "art" limited to "Dances of the Old Capital." The book did pique my curiosity about Geishas, especially in pre WWII Japan. I'll be checking out authentic memoirs.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mark
  • Point Clare, Australia
  • 01-23-10

just.... WOW

I am a mid 30's male and didnt think I would enjoy it but I found myself hoping to get stuck in traffic so that I could listen for longer...Narator done a fantastic job and the story was nothing short of captivating...just perfect!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Book Nut

This is one of my favorite Movies. And the book is the best. It really gets you deeper into the story. You really feel like it is a true story, and want to go meet the Geisha, and go see the places she has been.
The Narrator is Really good. She has a great command of her voice and makes you see the story unfolding, you lose yourself in the story not in the Narrator.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Listen

I really really enjoyed this story because I learned about some customs of Geisha girls. The book, of course, is better than the movie.