Review: Memoirs of a Geisha

August 31, 2012 Review 3 ★★★★

Review: Memoirs of a Geisha
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 448
Release Date: November 9th 1999
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Literary
four-starsfour-starsfour-starsfour-stars
A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It 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 she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it. In Memoirs of a Geisha, 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.From the Trade Paperback edition.
 This book is kind of hard for me to review, because it’s so far from what I usually read. Although I might drift away from the mainstream books and series, I always stay with YA. I’ve been intrigued by this book since the moment I saw the trailer for the movie back in 2005, and the cover is just so beautiful. I think this is a book that’s been on my to read list for the longest: six plus years and It took me this long to actually read it. Sad I know.

The thing about this novel is that you have to somewhat know about the Japanese culture to understand it. The author does explain a lot to you, but there are some things left unexplained. Luckily for me I had a phase in my life where I obsessed over Asian cultures, Japan’s especially, so understanding this was a piece of cake for me.

It was a little slow going at places, but not to the point where you’re going crazy with boredom. It’s one of those novels where the pace isn’t fast, but the story is very good. I can honestly say it’s one of my favorites. I think if you’ve ever saw this on Goodreads, the store shelve or anywhere and thought to yourself, “That looks interesting” or “I think I want to read it” Just go for it, because even if you don’t end up liking the story, you’ll have learned a lot about the culture and time period of Japan in the 1930s.

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Romance
Overall: 4

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