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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, captivating story!
This book by Arthur Golden has been on my "To Be Read" list for a long time! I thought the narrator, Bernadette Dunne, did a beautiful job. I think I enjoyed this book much more hearing it than reading it, as I could hear the names and words spoken in the way that they were meant to be. I have always been fascinated with other cultures, so this book was a real treat...
Published on June 14 2011 by Darlene

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2.0 out of 5 stars Marginally better than the movie.
Young Chiyo lives in a poor fishing village. Her mother is dying, and her father unable to care for Chiyo and her sister, Satsu. In desperation, he sells the girls to a local businessman, who sells Satsu into prostitution and Chiyo (the more beautiful of the sisters) to an okiya, where geisha are trained. After falling afoul of head geisha Hatsumomo, Chiyo accumulates...
Published 2 months ago by Lisa Adams


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4.0 out of 5 stars great story, July 10 2007
By 
Toni Osborne "The Way I See It" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Memoirs of a Geisha (Paperback)
A remarkable and breathtaking novel, the author unlocks the complex world of rituals with insight, grace and intelligence. It is beautifully written and immensely believable.One can easily enter this exotic world where appearances are so important.

The story spans a lifetime, a girl is sold into slavery at a very young age by her father and is taken away from her village only to be groomed into beguiling the most powerful men. This story is seen through the eyes of the main character as she struggles to become and to be one of the most sought geisha in Gion .

This part fairy tale and part historical novel drew me in from the very first page. I wonder how close the movie came in describing this world without falling into too much Americanism, well maybe I will have to watch the DVD one day and judge for myself.
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1.0 out of 5 stars White Man's Fantasy...I give this book a half star., Feb. 23 2000
This review is from: Memoirs of a Geisha (Paperback)
Sayuri's a perfect male fantasy: An Asian sex slave with western features (grey/blue eyes). Now, why couldn't she just have been a drop dead gorgeous Japanese woman? Why the colored eyes? But that's not what gets me. Would any intelligent person fall in love with the type of man who takes her away from her dying folks, forces her sister to be a cheap ol' hooker, and pays her way to becoming a dumb little tea pourer? I'm talking about the Fisheries Manager and the man who eventually ended up being her sugar daddy. For Christ sake, these men were old enough to be her father! Talk about pedophelia and hooking. This book is pretty sick...sugar coating the male intent with a very willing female narrator.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling read, March 11 2006
By 
This review is from: Memoirs of a Geisha (Paperback)
This is one of the best books I have ever read in my entire life. It is tied for the best and favorite with McCrae’s explosive, funny, and shocking “A Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens.” Memoirs of A Geisha is a wonderful book that captivates the reader from page one. My only disappointment with the book is that it wasn't longer. When's the last time THAT happened to you? The book was 428 pages I wish it could have been 1,000.

Also, I read the book too quickly. It is a book that people should read a chapter at a time, reflect, and read the next chapter the next day. But, unfortunately, a book this good will never allow you to put it down.

Memoirs of a Geshia takes a look at a girl who is stolen from her home at age 9 and sold. She is abused, ridiculed, and humiliated throughout her journey. She has to learn the many skills of becoming a Geisha. It is a book that is truly excellent and wonderful. It is probably one of the best books I have ever read. I would only recommend this book to more mature audiences. It does contain some graphic and sexually paragraphs. However, these paragraphs add to the theme and the events of the book. Without them, you have a different book. It is truly a wonderful novel and these areas and themes only add to it. You must, must, must also try the “Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens” for another look into another world—this time, the Southern United States as you’ve never seen them before!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Will Feel The Emotion, March 25 2006
This review is from: Memoirs of a Geisha (Paperback)
"Memoirs of a Geisha" is a stunning novel. It is an emotional event from start to finish and absolutely stunningly beautiful even in moments of dark pain. In terms of quality of story and writing, you'd have to compare it to books "The Kite Runner" and "My Fractured Life." This a really one book that you should read because you will feel it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Geishas are not Prostitutes, Jan. 5 2004
By 
Andrea (Boise, Id USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Memoirs of a Geisha (Hardcover)
Im Japanese, I was born in Japan, and still am very familiar with the language. So throughout the years I have come across the word Geisha, and I took high interest in this book. I have been told that Geisha were prostitutes but my Japanese mother begged a differ and recommended this book for me. It takes place in a little fishing village on the sea of Japan called "Yoroido" Chiyo-san is the youngest of a fisherman's daughter, she was very unique for she had these breath-taking gray-blue eyes. Her older sister Satsu wasnt anything to look at. Their mother was dying and there father was in no condition to raise children alone. So a wealthy man by the name of Ichiro Tanaka, persuaded their father to sell the girls. Chiyo was sold to an Okiya where geisha were trained and lived and Satsu was sold to a whore house. The girls loose contact with eachother, and lived on their lives as they were bought for. Chiyo went to school for she was in training to be a Geisha. Satsu ran away from the whore house and is never seen or heard of ever again. As the years pass, Chiyo turns into this beautiful young apprentice geisha and she even falls in love with the wealthy chairman of Iwamura electric company, but geisha are not allowed to have husbands or boyfriends, unless they buy that geisha. This whole story is told through her eyes, and all the hardships she goes through in order to become a geisha. She didnt have a choice whether or not she could or could not be a geisha, she was forced. Geisha are "artisan" they entertain a crowd of men through dancing and playing their shamisen which is a japanese guitar. She has an older sister geisha who looks after her and teaches her more about entertaining men, that was Mameha. She makes Chiyo into a Geisha whos name turns into Sayuri. Sayuri's virginity is sold to the highest bidder and then a man buys her for solo personal night time hours in exchange that he pays for all of her expenses. These are just a few experiences that she has to face in order to become a success. Throughout her years of becoming a geisha Sayuri grows old and is known as one of the best Geisha known in Japan. Japan was not doing so well economically where abouts in the US they were rising. So Sayuri decides to move to the US and own her own teahouse. Every chapter of this book is suspensful, it was intense, i felt terrible for her having her viriginty sold and when her whole family was taken away from her before her eyes. But im very hopeful that she does get to know what love feels like and that she finds happiness in the end. Thats just a fast easy to follow summary on "Memoirs of a geisha." And please do not think Geisha's are prostitutes for they are graceful entertainers, that are trained to dance and sing, they set the meaning of beauty in Japanese history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars love, Oct. 1 2011
This review is from: Memoirs of a Geisha (Paperback)
it is an amazing book...so much thought and it allows u to go back to as if u were there
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5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and poetic step into a hidden piece of Japan's past., Oct. 4 2010
By 
Ria (Bibliotropic) (Saint John, New Brunswick Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Memoirs of a Geisha (Paperback)
I honestly can't count the number of times I've read this novel, and I think it's the sign of an excellent book when one can read it time and time again without once growing bored of the story that they know by heart.

Arthur Golden's novel of the life of a geisha in pre-war (and some post-war) Japan is a captivating one, the kind that draws you into another world from the very first sentence. It's at once familiar and foreign, simple and complex, straightforward and twisty. The story's gimmick is that it's presented as though it's nonfiction, the transcription of a story that the geisha Sayuri told to a loyal friend and finally published after her death. The truth is that it's a stunning piece of fiction. Arthur Golden certainly did his homework, it's true, but the story itself is pure fiction.

Thanks to this perspective, though, the story feel very real. There characters, cruel or kind, are presented as real people rather than caricatures or flat character archetypes. Anything we learn about them is seen through Sayuri's eyes, which is another thing that makes it very easy to fall into the story.

I was particularly impressed with the way some sensitive material was handled, such as the subject of mizuage, or the act of losing one's virginity to someone who has paid for it. This could have been written distastefully, or Golden could have attempted to use the scene to convey some sort of moral message, but instead it was told for what it was, and any subjective thoughts were subjective only to the situation in which the scene takes place. I really have to give the man kudos for doing that so well!

If this book suffers anywhere, it's in the overuse of similes. This is supposed to lend a somewhat poetic feel to the narration, and very often it works, if you take each event on its own. But when you're getting a simile in every paragraph or two, it becomes a little difficult to read, and some of the poetry, I'm sad it say, gets lost along the way.

Still, when that's the only real failing worth noting, that still speaks very well for the novel. I definitely recommend this to, well, just about anybody, but especially those interested in Japan, history, or memoir-style books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting - Sticks With You, March 1 2010
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This review is from: Memoirs of a Geisha (Hardcover)
This is a nicely-written book with a captivating story-line. Books spanning decades always make feel feel a bit sad - time just seems to go so quickly, and there are always periods of time that get skipped over, leaving me feeling like I missed part of the characters life...but that may just be the sign of a good book, where you care and want to know everything! I found myself thinking about the book in between reading sessions, and afterward. I was also inspired to do a little extra-curricular research on aspects of Japanese culture, language, etc., which was very interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't borrow this one....Buy it!, Jan. 28 2010
By 
Babs (Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Memoirs of a Geisha (Paperback)
Arthur Golden is probably the most descriptive author I have ever encountered! He will take you to Japan! You will live the life of a geisha in the 1930's. This is an amazing book. I am so glad that I own it. You will definitely read this one..... again and again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars MEMOIRS OF A MASTERPIECE, Nov. 17 2008
By 
NeuroSplicer (Freeside, in geosynchronous orbit) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Memoirs of a Geisha (Hardcover)
If you have only experienced the movie, let me make it as clear as possible: you have barely scraped the surface. This a very rich and rewarding novel that will absorb you into another time, a far away land and a completely alien mentality. Welcome to the Floating World of the Geishas in its twilight.

This is the true story of Mineko Iwasaki (whose personal autobiography is also available under the title Geisha: A Life) presented in the form of a novel by a brilliant Arthur Golden (too bad he did not follow up his success with a second novel).

Japan in the years following WWI was a country in transition. The old ways were on their way out yet they have a way of soothing the soul of any nation, especially one found itself caught in limbo, between progress and tradition. In this transitional world Sayuri is offered the chance to become a Geisha. The unique color of her eyes, her patience and artistic abilities soon propel her to the position of the most famous Geisha of them all. But one should always be wary of what he wishes for.

Fame and success are never a guarantee for personal happiness. Predictably, Sayuri's love story is bittersweet and has many false starts. In fear of spoilers, I shall only say that life is never boring.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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Memoirs of a Geisha
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (Paperback - Jan. 26 1999)
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