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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 (P)1999 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Rarely has a world so closed and foreign been evoked with such natural assurance." (The New Yorker)
"Captivating, minutely imagined...You are seduced completely." (Washington Post Book World)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    125
  • 4 Stars
    54
  • 3 Stars
    27
  • 2 Stars
    11
  • 1 Stars
    8

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    57
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    57
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    11
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    3
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Excellent performance and splendid atmosphere.

When a Geisha, Hastumomo speaks, I can feel Kyoto accent though she speaks in English. But there is one concern. As a Japanese woman, I’m worried that Westerners might misunderstand Geisha because of this book. Certainly Geishas are existent in Kyoto and highly respected as a part of Japanese antique culture. But they are not prostitutes as the book describes “Mizu-age”. I’ve heard a lot of foreigners who visit Kyoto try to pay them for sex. Of course it’s illegal and very rude to offer. You can see they dancing and playing music, and play games with them in a very graceful, traditional way. Surely they’ll please the eye.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alan
  • Flagstaff, AZ, USA
  • 01-02-05

A spell-binding book

I listened to this audiobook on a ski trip with my then 18 year old son to Colorado. I often listen to audiobooks on long trips but my son generally tunes them out or listens to his own music. He was so captivated by this one (me too) that when the chance came to ride with his long-time-no-see friend in a different car, he declined because he was afraid that I would move ahead in the story and that he would miss part of it. This book is probably at least part of the reason my son is now studying japanese at college and planning to spend a year studying in Japan next year
The narrator is excellent and I felt the book gave a real insight into the japenese mind and a world that was hidden even from the japanese for hundreds of years.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ella
  • toronto,, Ontario, Canada
  • 02-19-06

Short and Sweet

This is the shortest book I've ever listened too and it packed quite a big punch. The story is intriguing, the narration was so good it transported you to a whole different world. I chose to listen to the abridged version of this book because it is not really the type of book I am interested in, but the reviews are so good I didn't want to miss it completely. This was a good compromise, I got a good taste of what the book was about without having to listen to 14 hours of it. Enjoyable and educational at the same time.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Draws you in and won't let you go....

This is an amazing story of an amazing woman. It is truely a look at a time and culture that westerners can only imagine. I found it hard to turn it off, making excuses to keep listening.
A very, very "good read".

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sandra
  • Bokeelia, FL, USA
  • 08-07-04

hypnotic & entrancing (dble-spk?)

I have listened to this book several times since January of 2002. It never fails to capture me. The voice and the story both are intriguing. It takes the listener to another world and yet gives familiarity also. Very hard to believe that it is fiction. I have recommended it to many others. I also have read it, but listening to the unabridged version improved the quality of the experience in this case. Sandy

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating

I loved listening to this book and being transported to another time & place. This was wonderfully descriptive, wonderfully read perfection.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Severely Abridged

I love this book so I was disappointed that it left out HUGE pieces of the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lori
  • Franklin, TN, USA
  • 03-18-04

Tugged at every emotion

It felt so personal hearing it. Anyone who enjoys getting to really know characters in a story, must listen to this. Beautifully read. How I wish I could have known this amazing woman. I felt I was walking there beside her throughout her entire life.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Grapevine, TX, United States
  • 06-05-04

Superb!

Captivating story of a 20th century geisha, read by an excellent narrator. I could not sleep until I finished it!

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

dont buy, skips over a majority of the book.

this was absolute garbage. no indication that more than half the book was not on this version.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nick
  • 06-11-17

Educational and entertaining

If you could sum up Memoirs of a Geisha in three words, what would they be?

well worth reading

What did you like best about this story?

it was on a subject I knew little about so it was an education and extremely interesting and emotional to read

Have you listened to any of Elaina Erika Davis’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I haven't

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no as I think it is too deep for that

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda
  • 03-31-17

Really enjoyed it

It's quite a short book but I really enjoyed the story and the performance of the reader it was easy to distinguish between characters.