Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
(Random House Large Print)

78%

25 Critic Reviews

Once in awhile there comes a story so completely transporting that, from the exhilarating experience of reading it, you emerge almost wordless. A review cannot fully describe what is indescribably beautiful.
-All About Romance

Synopsis

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.
 

About Arthur Golden

See more books from this Author
Arthur Golden was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and was educated at Harvard College, where he received a degree in art history, specializing in Japanese art. In 1980 he earned an M.A. in Japanese history from Columbia University, where he also learned Mandarin Chinese. Following a summer at Beijing University, he worked in Tokyo and, after returning to the United States, earned an M.A. in English from Boston University. He resides in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.--From the Trade Paperback edition.
 
Published January 1, 1997 by CHATTO & WINDUS. 400 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Education & Reference, Romance. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Memoirs of a Geisha
All: 25 | Positive: 20 | Negative: 5

Kirkus

Below average
on May 20 2010

Though incomparable in its view of a geisha's life behind the scenes, the story loses immediacy as it goes along.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Sep 22 1997

Counter to everything geisha are taught, Chiyo learns that her own feelings do matter, and honoring them results in a well-earned, intelligent and satisfyingly happy ending.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Murphy on Nov 14 2005

...the Pretty Woman style happy ending is a little disappointing. I had hoped she would be a strong woman and set out on her own. I concede that was probably personal taste. Plenty of people love that sort of story, and this is a good one of its kind.

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Jennifer Lafferty on Nov 17 2012

“Memoirs of a Geisha” is a remarkably vivid and extraordinarily well-crafted novel. This story leaves the reader spellbound in a compelling, exotic and often entertaining world.

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Leonard on Nov 03 2011

This book is captivating, seductive, beautiful and horrific and definitely worth reading. But women readers should be forewarned: the life of a Geisha during World War II was not all song and dance...

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Suzanne Ruta on Oct 24 1997

Golden, a Japanese scholar, offsets the detail with high-toned prose...An artful study of a dying art.

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All About Romance

Excellent
Reviewed by Noelle Leslie de la Cruz on May 09 2014

Once in awhile there comes a story so completely transporting that, from the exhilarating experience of reading it, you emerge almost wordless. A review cannot fully describe what is indescribably beautiful.

Read Full Review of Memoirs of a Geisha (Random H... | See more reviews from All About Romance

Suite 101

Good
Reviewed by Melissa Howard on Apr 02 2011

Novels and literature are about the heart, not the mind, and Arthur Golden’s beautiful novel definitely makes music for the heart.

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About.com Bestsellers

Good
Reviewed by Erin Collazo Miller on May 09 2014

Memoirs of a Geisha is a wonderful book, full of beautiful descriptions and a page turning story. It is written as if it is a true story, and the voice is very believable.

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CNN.com

Good
Reviewed by Ann Hastings on May 14 1998

Golden explores the concept of freedom within a slavelike society as Chiyo uses her brains more than her beauty to make an independent life for herself. If you are interested in Japanese culture or in a girl's quest for independence, you must read this book.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Bapalapa2 on May 12 2014

Golden introduces the world to a veiled society rarely explored. His use of imagery and metaphor transport the reader not only into the center of the geisha culture but straight into the heart of Japan.

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Teen Ink

Good
on May 12 2014

Memoirs of a Geisha will keep you wondering whether true love exists, or if it is all just a beautiful illusion.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by Bapalapa2 on May 12 2014

Memoirs of a Geisha is an insightful and fascinating glimpse into the mysterious worldthe geishas of Japan so gracefully inhabited.

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Teen Ink

Excellent
Reviewed by Rebecca R. on May 12 2014

Memoirs of a Geisha is a page turning novel that will leave everyone guessing what will happen next; not wanting to put this master piece down to figure out Sayuri’s next move in the game of life. Reading this book must be the number one heart pounding work in the written language.

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Yahoo! Voices

Good
Reviewed by Candice Cain on Apr 20 2007

Memoirs of a Geisha is an excellent book. It is, however, slow in a few places. However, you will learn a great deal from this, especially about the Geisha world and Japanese culture.

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https://suite101.com

Below average
Reviewed by Melissa Howard on May 12 2014

Novels and literature are about the heart, not the mind, and Arthur Golden’s beautiful novel definitely makes music for the heart.

Read Full Review of Memoirs of a Geisha (Random H...

http://www.reviewstream.com

Above average
Reviewed by nanayangel on May 12 2014

The characters were vividly described. I was carried away by the emotions of the characters especially Nitta Sayuri...

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Seduced By a Book

Excellent
Reviewed by Lisarenee on May 18 2013

I loved the journey. I loved Sayuri and the bittersweet ending.The story is touching, moving, and a roller coaster of an emotional ride that touched on all of my emotions.

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Reading Matters

Above average
on Aug 07 2013

But on the whole, this is an intimate account of a secretive way of life. Not only does it hone in on historical and cultural truths, it is an epic human story about surviving against the odds.

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Prolific Living

Good
on May 12 2014

Golden does a phenomenal job of painting the world in which Sayuri lives. It is obvious that he is well-versed on the complex topics of Geisha and Japan and has done due diligence to us with his research.

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The Quiet Voice

Good
on Jun 29 2011

A great read – I am so thankful for my friend who bought me this as a birthday present. Recommended to anyone remotely interested in Japanese culture or the life of a geisha.

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http://bookreviews.nabou.com

Above average
on May 12 2014

For a book like this, with an incredible build up where you want to see everything wrapped up, there is no adequate ending. I still recommend the book, but warn against the end - what a letdown.

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Great Imaginations

Good
Reviewed by Lyn on Nov 29 2013

I want to see the movie now...Yes, it could have been more realistic. Overall, it was entertaining, informative, and thought provoking.

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The Little Red Reviewer Blog

Above average
Reviewed by Redhead on Mar 02 2011

...Memoirs of a Geisha is an acceptable book, I’d describe is as a good beach read. It’s a fascinating look into a secretive culture that doesn’t exist anymore. It’s fine if you’re looking for a slower paced, long term love story.

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http://www.classicbookshop.com

Good
Reviewed by Virginia Jacobus on Jun 15 2005

This story weaves a wonderfully provocative tale of one womans destiny and the one true love of her life.

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