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Memoirs of a Geisha (1997)

by Arthur Golden

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
34,14752760 (4)516
A fisherman's daughter in 1930s Japan rises to become a famous geisha. After training, Sayuri's virginity is sold to the highest bidder, then the school finds her a general for a patron. When he dies, she is reunited with the only man she loved.
  1. 190
    Geisha: A Life by Mineko Iwasaki (Leishai, sbuehrle)
    Leishai: Arthur Golden schrieb einen Roman über Geishas. Mineko Iwasaki war die Geiko, die er dafür interviewte. Sie stellt in ihrem Buch alles richtig, was er sich zu dramatischen Zwecken zurechtgeschnitten hat.
    sbuehrle: I would recommend reading these books back-to-back. Memoirs of a Geisha is the fictional account of Iwasaki's life, whereas Geisha: A Life is the autobiographical response.
  2. 184
    Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (goodiegoodie)
  3. 40
    Autobiography of a Geisha by Sayo Masuda (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Beautifully written story of a geisha who fares better than Sayo Masuda.
  4. 51
    Empress Orchid by Anchee Min (krizia_lazaro)
  5. 41
    Geisha by Liza Dalby (SqueakyChu, MartinRohrbach, Leishai)
    Leishai: Ein gutes Buch für Europäer oder Amerikaner zum Verständnis der japanischen Geisha-Kultur.
  6. 30
    The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon by Sei Shonagon (brightbel)
  7. 63
    Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (caflores)
  8. 20
    Kimonos (365 Series) by Sophie Milenovich (JuliaMaria)
  9. 20
    The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan (sturlington)
  10. 20
    Plum Wine by Angela Davis-Gardner (Catt172)
  11. 20
    Geisha in Rivalry by Kafu Nagai (normandie_m)
    normandie_m: Set slightly earlier and in Tokyo, but also worth reading for exploring the relationship dynamics between geisha and their patrons, who come from a variety of different backgrounds. Also offers insight into the relationships/friendships between the different geisha.… (more)
  12. 01
    The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery (cransell)
  13. 01
    Still Life With Rice by Helie Lee (dawnlovesbooks)
  14. 01
    Jia: A Novel of North Korea by Hyejin Kim (meggyweg)
  15. 05
    The Physician by Noah Gordon (MartinRohrbach)
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» See also 516 mentions

English (497)  Spanish (13)  Dutch (6)  French (4)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (523)
Showing 1-5 of 497 (next | show all)
8466302794
  archivomorero | Jun 25, 2022 |
Star and a half since the descriptions can be so rich. All I could think while reading this was, "And to think, I adored this when it first came out!" Now: This book just kept going on and on and ON. The film adaptation was great, although it was banned in Japan because Hollywood was lazy in its casting. There is a ton of telling and not showing in this book. I was surprised at how cartoonishly evil Hatsumomo was. I walked away from the book wondering what it would be like, written from her perspective. I was more interested in half an hour's worth of educational videos on geishas than I was this long-winded ream of paper. I do, however, congratulate the author on his success. This book obviously wasn't for me now. ( )
  iszevthere | Jun 21, 2022 |
Stupendo. è uno dei miei libri preferiti ed è il libro che, molti anni fa, mi ha avvicinato al mondo delle geisha. ( )
  XSassyPants | Jun 11, 2022 |
Beautifully written and so rich in detail it's almost dizzying at times. A wonderful book, gripping, moving, amusing and deeply human. ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
Beautiful descriptions and a poignant story. ( )
  KatKinney | Mar 3, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 497 (next | show all)
Golden fills the book with vivid images and subtle descriptions of the nuances of Japanese culture, and is absolutely brilliant in his description of the customs and rituals of the geisha. Through the meticulous detail the reader can fully understand the politics, rivalries, and traditions of the Japan geisha society.
added by mikeg2 | editCNN, Ann Hastings (May 25, 1998)
 
Mr. Golden gives us not only a richly sympathetic portrait of a woman, but also a finely observed picture of an anomalous and largely vanished world. He has made an impressive and unusual debut.
 
Haarhuis's foreword and Golden's epilogue, the one appropriating the guise of a novel and the other taking it off, suggest an author who is of two minds when it comes to his work. It is not surprising, then, if his readers share this uncertainty. The decision to write an autobiographically styled novel rather than a nonfiction portrait is most obviously justified in terms of empathy, of allowing greater freedom to explore the geisha's inner life. Unfortunately, Sayuri's personality seems so familiar it is almost generic; she is not so much an individual as a faultless arrangement of feminine virtues.
 

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Golden, Arthurprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cobb, JodiCover photographsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohen, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Wilde, BarbaraCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stege, GiselaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weinstein, IrisDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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For my wife, Trudy,
and my children, Hays and Tess
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Suppose that you and I were sitting in a quiet room overlooking a garden, chatting and sipping at our cups of green tea while we talked about something that had happened a long while ago, and I said to you, "That afternoon when I met so-and-so . . . was the very best afternoon of my life, and also the very worst afternoon."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A fisherman's daughter in 1930s Japan rises to become a famous geisha. After training, Sayuri's virginity is sold to the highest bidder, then the school finds her a general for a patron. When he dies, she is reunited with the only man she loved.

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Book description
A seductive and evocative epic on an intimate scale, that tells the extraordinary story of a geisha girl. Summoning up more than twenty years of Japan's most dramatic history, it uncovers a hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation. From a small fishing village in 1929, the tale moves to the glamorous and decadent heart of Kyoto in the 1930s, where a young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. She tells her story many years later from the Waldorf Astoria in New York; it exquisitely evokes another culture, a different time and the details of an extraordinary way of life. It conjures up the perfection and the ugliness of life behind rice-paper screens, where young girls learn the arts of geisha - dancing and singing, how to wind the kimono, how to walk and pour tea, and how to beguile the most powerful men.
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