Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden (1997)

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.

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.

  •  Absolutely beautiful and heartwarming. This is a fairytale and a historical fiction, and may teach you a lot about Japanese culture and the art of being a geisha. Very absorbing and hard to put down.
  • If you've watched the movie and liked it, you will probably like this book even more. The movie does a decent job of portraying everything, but the book has a very "classic" quality to it that makes you feel more for the characters than you do in the movie.
  • I have no idea if I'm the only one who feels this way, but in the end, I felt so bad for Nobu. He seemed to have been wronged by the two people he cared about the most (Sayuri and the Chairman), and he had given so much to them. Admittedly, he's also my favorite character because he seems to have the most personality, so maybe I'm just biased. But I guess his role in the novel is expanded much more than in the movie, giving it more complexities and emotions.
  • The book is written as if it's an actual memoir, but I believe it isn't really..? I loved how the author allows the reader to believe that it's based off true events; the historical context is so accurate and the narration so in-depth that it's hard to believe otherwise!
  • There are funny parts and tragic parts which makes the characters and the setting leap out of the pages and into your head. Everything feels very real, and all the characters are interesting in their own way. Hatsumomo is intriguing as a villain, and Mameha depicted as a reliable and practical older sister figure. Even greedy "Mother" is one of those characters that some people love to hate.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

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