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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 (5176 )
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4.6 (2402 )
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4.5 (2381 )
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Performance
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  •  
    RacerX 09-24-03
    RacerX 09-24-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful story, excellent narrator"

    I was very pleasantly surprised with this work. I thought the story was excellent, as well as the narration. To me, the narrator's style (accent, attitude, etc.) made me feel like I was inside the mind of Sayuri experiencing the events in her life. I was also surprised at how much Japanese history, culture and philosophy is in the book, even though it is fiction. It definitely would be on my "top 10" list. And unlike another reviewer, I couldn't put the headphones down; I always wanted to hear just a little more.
    Highly recommended though. Very well done!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aubrey 03-08-16
    Aubrey 03-08-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Well-Crafted Story"
    Any additional comments?

    Loved this book. It's well-written, engaging, and is an interesting look at this culture and time period. The characters are fully rounded and dynamic.

    I wasn't a huge fan of the narrator right away, but settled in as the story went on. He's ok, but doesn't necessarily bring Japan to life.

    Overall though, this is a great listen, and I definitely recommend it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pen Name 01-04-16
    Pen Name 01-04-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Good book, Poor narration"

    Having read the book prior to listening to the audible version I knew it was a good story, but the narrator sounds like a robot reading a book. Maybe I'm just spoiled with all the great readers we have now days.
    Not only can I picture this monotone robot with the book in its hand but It sounds like it was recorded in the 1960's. Listen to a sample before buying.
    This is one of the rare times I recommend- no, I insist- you read the book and skip the audio version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 07-24-14
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 07-24-14 Member Since 2014

    I have a rather eclectic love of books. I know what I like and I tend not to be a severe critic. If I enjoyed it, it gets 4 or 5 stars.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "All I can say is Wow!"

    I purchased this book because I remember people talking about it, but I really didn't know exactly what it was about. I was very surprised that it turned out to be such a wonderful story...I think I expected more of a diary-type story, but it was so much more. Also, knowing so little about pre-WWII Japan, I learned a lot about Japanese culture. It was facsinating to me. I always thought that Geisha's were prostitutes, and although some may still define them as so, they really were artists. After reading the book, I rented the movie to see how they visualized it. It was a little different, but it did help paint pictures for me in the areas that I could not imagine. It is a lovely book!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca Fort Oglethorpe, GA, United States 11-27-11
    Rebecca Fort Oglethorpe, GA, United States 11-27-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Simply amazing!"

    This is now one of my all-time favorite books.

    The writing is so compelling I felt transported to the world of the novel at all times. My house was cleaner than it had been in months because I would look for things to do (clean) so I could listen just a little bit longer!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Greenville, NC, United States 01-13-11
    K. Greenville, NC, United States 01-13-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sound quality good, narration...not so much"

    I have read this book numerous times and decided to purchase the audio format just so I could listen to the book while running errands or tending to housekeeping. The story line gets 25 out of 5 stars!!! On the otherhand, the narrator that was selected reads through this piece as if it were a text book. Much detail is given about the soft, charming voice in which Sayuri has. Maybe I'm naive, but I thought perhaps the publisher would hire someone that would fit the bill.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hii Kii Eugene, Oregon United States 01-01-11
    Hii Kii Eugene, Oregon United States 01-01-11 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a terrible reader for this book"

    Until a new version is available that doesn't sound like it is being read by an elementary school teacher, skip this audiobook. Her reading of simple Japanese words will pull you right out of the story. It is cringeworthy!

    If there is ever a new version, I'll buy it, but this one isn't worth the credits or a sale price.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 07-31-10
    Robert Yamhill, OR, United States 07-31-10 Member Since 2016

    Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "See the movie, this is not worth the credit"

    I loved the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. After reading the reviews of the Audible version, I was looking forward to finally reading/listening to the book. This was not my favorite book really in any respect. If one is interested in the theory behind and the rearing of a geisha, then this book might have its merits. Firstly, however, I thought the narrator was the worst aspect of it. She was dry, uninspired and appeared to be just reading a book and maybe for the first time. Worst narrator in the last 50 books for me. Secondly, I never got invested in any character as I did in the movie. Actually, I did not find much in the book that was not in the movie so what's the point? Sorry, but this was just not a great way to spend a credit.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mia Silver Spring, MD, USA 06-07-09
    Mia Silver Spring, MD, USA 06-07-09
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    "Stunning-I couldn't stop listening"

    I was immediately drawn into the wonderful, gripping story!! It was so real, so vividly written, and beautifully narrated. The story line is compelling and the written is so descriptive. It is a great novel -- I loved this book. It is the best book I have listened to or read in a long time.
    I also have to say that it is incredible that a man wrote this book. What a great story. I got totally lost in it. You are tempted to believe it is an actual memoir, then have to remind yourself it is a work of fiction. Amazing!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kris Cordova, TN, USA 05-22-09
    Kris Cordova, TN, USA 05-22-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Can't stop listening to this book!"

    I find myself looking for excuses to get in my car and listen to this book! It is wonderful - very interesting to learn the way of life for a Geisha in Japan, very fasinating! Definitely recommend!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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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
    Surrey
    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

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