corner corner Memoirs of a Geisha (Large Paperback)


Memoirs of a Geisha (Large Paperback)
by ARTHUR GOLDEN | Literature & Fiction
Registered by BeverlyInSC of Piedmont, South Carolina USA on 3/4/2007
Average 9 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by jessidee): travelling

This book is in the wild! This Book is Currently in the Wild!

2 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by BeverlyInSC from Piedmont, South Carolina USA on Sunday, March 04, 2007

This book has not been rated.

"I wasn't born and raised to be a Kyoto geisha....I'm a fisherman's daughter from a little town called Yoroido on the Sea of Japan." How nine-year-old Chiyo, sold with her sister into slavery by their father after their mother's death, becomes Sayuri, the beautiful geisha accomplished in the art of entertaining men, is the focus of this fascinating first novel. Narrating her life story from her elegant suite in the Waldorf Astoria, Sayuri tells of her traumatic arrival at the Nitta okiya (a geisha house), where she endures harsh treatment from Granny and Mother, the greedy owners, and from Hatsumomo, the sadistically cruel head geisha. But Sayuri's chance meeting with the Chairman, who shows her kindness, makes her determined to become a geisha. Under the tutelage of the renowned Mameha, she becomes a leading geisha of the 1930s and 1940s. After the book's compelling first half, the second half is a bit flat and overlong. Still, Golden, with degrees in Japanese art and history, has brilliantly revealed the culture and traditions of an exotic world, closed to most Westerners.

From the Pickens County, S.C., monthly library sale. 

Journal Entry 2 by BeverlyInSC from Piedmont, South Carolina USA on Sunday, April 13, 2008

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Reserved for jessidee who was kind enough to trade with me. 

Journal Entry 3 by jessidee from Eatonton, Georgia USA on Sunday, April 20, 2008

This book has not been rated.

Received in the mail from BeverlyInSC. I'm really looking forward to reading this book! 

Journal Entry 4 by jessidee from Eatonton, Georgia USA on Friday, May 30, 2008

9 out of 10

This is the review I posted on my blog. I read this book for a non-BC reading challenge.

This was the first book I chose to read for the 1% Well-Read Challenge. I have wanted to read this book for YEARS - I can remember being in college and seeing a copy at the bookstore, and I have no idea why I didn't pick it up then. I got my current copy in a BookCrossing trade a few weeks ago, but I had to finish another book first (actually, a few books: the literary crack known as The Twilight Series and The Host), and by the time that I finished I had discovered the 1% WRC and decided to use Memoirs as part of that. So it all turned out pretty serendipitously.

Alright, plot: Memoirs of a Geisha is a novel about a young girl named Chiyo who is sold by her father to the Nitta okiya, a geisha house in Gion. Her biggest obstacle to becoming a geisha is Hatsumomo, the Nitta's only profitable geisha and Chiyo's first rival. Hatsumomo antagonizes Chiyo and apparently ruins her chances of ever becoming a geisha, but then (spoiler alert!) some other stuff happens, fate intervenes, and Chiyo is able to renew her training and eventually becomes pretty successful. It's an interesting story, and although the ending was a bit too Chairman ex machina, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

To be honest, I found the novel a bit daunting at first - the print is really tiny, and it seemed like it would take forever to get through. But the chapters were really short, and once I got into the story it was hard to put it down. The premise is that the novel was dictated to an interpreter by a real geisha, and I found it very believable - not that I'm a geisha expert or anything. But the characters are incredible! Chiyo's voice is very realistic, and Golden's writing style is lyrical. I'm a little sad it's his only novel. According to my post-reading researching (Google + Wikipedia), he interviewed several geisha for background information, and was sued for breach of contract and defamation of character by one (Mineko Iwasaki) because he named her as a source in his acknowledgements. She then went on to write a completely different account of life as a geisha (called, appropriately enough, Geisha, A Life), which is about to go on my Amazon wishlist.

Holding onto it for right now. After I move to my new apartment, I'll be releasing it as part of the 2008 Movie/TV Books Release Challenge

Journal Entry 5 by jessidee at Curves in Eatonton, Georgia USA on Sunday, September 28, 2008

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Released 9 yrs ago (9/29/2008 UTC) at Curves in Eatonton, Georgia USA



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