Author: Arthur Golden
Copyright: 9/97; Fourteenth Printing 2/98
Hardcover 434 pages
Condition: VERY GOOD/NEAR FINE. Pages clean - read only once. In storage since bought new. Shows slight edge wear, no markings, chips or nicks. Book is tight, square and clean, with no
bumping to corners or creased pages. The dust jacket is excellent, bright and clean, with no tears. The original price is intact on the inside front flap.
On a scale of 1 to 5: This is a 5 !
"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.
Here in this book the geisha Sayuri tells her remarkable story in this epic novel that ranges from
a poor Japanese fishing village in the 1920's to postwar New York City. Readers will experience the entire life of a geisha, from her origins as an orphaned fishing-village girl in 1929 to her triumphant auction of her mizuage (virginity) for a record price as a teenager to her reminiscent old age as the distinguished mistress of the powerful patron of her dreams. We discover that a geisha is more analogous to a Western "trophy wife" than to a prostitute--and, as in Austen, flat-out prostitution and early death is a woman's alternative to the repressive, arcane system of courtship. In simple, elegant prose, Golden puts us right in the tearoom with the geisha; we are there as she gracefully fights for her life in a social situation where careers are made or destroyed by a witticism, a too-revealing (or not revealing enough) glimpse of flesh under the kimono, or a vicious rumor spread by a rival "as cruel as a spider."
"'Write what you know','" my writing class professor had always told me. In 'Memoirs of a Geisha,'
the first-time novelist Arthur Golden not only defies that old piece of creative-writing class advice,
but does so with impunity and panache as well. For example, he takes second bites at his apple
(..."let out a huge sneeze
-- which is to say there was a burst of wind with a tremendous spray.";
"... was to sleep, which she began to do the way a cat does -- which is to
say, more or less constantly.", etc.) disguising this unusual writing
device so successfully that the reader doesn't mind his remarkable sleight of
hand. This novel, disguised as a memoir, told in the voice of a geisha who grew up in pre-World War II
Japan, is excellent reading. I couldn't put it down, and when I was forced to, I couldn't stop wondering
about what was going to happen next. The way it was written and the language used, one could almost picture
each and every detail, including how demure a geisha is. I highly recommend this book!
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