Memoirs of a Geisha

By Arthur Golden,

Book cover of Memoirs of a Geisha

Book description

'An epic tale and a brutal evocation of a disappearing world' The Times

A young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. Many years later she tells her story from a hotel in New York, opening a window into an extraordinary half-hidden world of…


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Why read it?

3 authors picked Memoirs of a Geisha as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Years of research into Japanese life, culture, and history went into the preparation for writing this totally believable and lyrical work of fiction that takes the reader through the life of a Geisha from orphaned child to old woman. As Sayuri is groomed for a life of elegant slavery we see the glittering world of the Geisha through her eyes with its demands, emotional loneliness, and pathos. And we accompany her at a time when the Geisha houses are forced to close during World War II and she must reinvent herself. The book is peopled by compelling characters but there…

The book transported me to a completely foreign world where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as an illusion and leaves you hanging until the last chapter to find out if the main character will ever realize her aspirations for love from the one man she has ever loved. It reminded me a lot of Cinderella. An ordinary girl who is mistreated and comes from nothing to become the most sought-after woman in all of Japan. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction—at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful—and completely unforgettable. I…

From Marlayne's list on where love overcomes all obstacles.

The premise of this book is that the author interviews a former geisha now in her nineties and living in New York. She recounts her early childhood born in a fishing village and sold into slavery. She is groomed to become a geisha and discovers her own power and freedom. World War II intervenes and she must reinvent herself when many of the geisha houses close. To her amazement, she falls in love. The book is filled with rich details of life in Kyoto. This novel was my first introduction to Japanese culture, its economy, and social mores, and the…

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