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Memoirs of a Geisha

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Memoirs of a Geisha Cover

ISBN13: 9780375400117
ISBN10: 0375400117
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An alluring tour de force: a brilliant debut novel told with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism as 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. 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, always elusive, is scorned as illusion.  

Sayuri's story begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Through her eyes, we see the decadent heart of Gion--the geisha district of Kyoto--with its marvelous teahouses and theaters, narrow back alleys, ornate temples, and artists' streets. And 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. But as World War II erupts and the geisha houses are forced to close, Sayuri, with little money and even less food, must reinvent herself all over again to find a rare kind of freedom on her own terms.

Memoirs of a Geisha is a book of nuances and vivid metaphor, of memorable characters rendered with humor and pathos. And though the story is rich with detail and a vast knowledge of history, it is the transparent, seductive voice of Sayuri that the reader remembers.

A dazzling literary achievement of empathy and grace by an extraordinary new writer.

Review:

"If Golden had done no more than elucidate these details in fine prose, this book would still be of enormous interest as a window into a culture that, like the geisha's white-painted face, seems to be the extreme, even twisted, manifestation of male erotic fantasy." John Burnham-Schwartz, The New Yorker

Review:

"Wonderful, involving, intelligent, fascinating, and almost Dickensian in the way the characters inhabit the landscape, and the landscape permeates the characters. It's a unique, beautifully written book." Ann Beattie

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 the 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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

tlh6142, April 23, 2007 (view all comments by tlh6142)
This book is extremely interstesting. It makes you want to learn more about the Japanese Culture. It is quick reading and fun to read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
smkirk23, February 15, 2007 (view all comments by smkirk23)
This author makes us believe this book is a biography. It is so well written that you will forget that it is written by a man and not a former geisha. It is a wonderful representation of a time when the beautiful creatures called geisha ruled and were ruled. It is art on paper and it makes you imagine that you were there and that you can feel and see everything the main character does. Please don't let your opinion of the movie sway your judgment. Always remember that the book is way better than the movie and give this one a try. You won't be disappointed.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375400117
Author:
Golden, Arthur S.
Publisher:
Alfred A. Knopf
Author:
Golden, Arthur S.
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
History
Subject:
Japan
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Japan History 20th century Fiction.
Subject:
Geishas -- Japan -- Fiction.
Subject:
Women
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;japan;historical fiction;geisha;novel;romance;historical;women;wwii;history;literature;memoir;20th century;love;japanese;asia;culture;movie;american;war;japanese culture;contemporary fiction;kyoto;biography;drama;asian;made into movie;coming of ag
Subject:
fiction;japan;historical fiction;geisha;novel;romance;historical;women;wwii;history;literature;memoir;20th century;love;japanese;asia;culture;movie;american;war;japanese culture;contemporary fiction;kyoto;biography;drama;asian;made into movie;coming of ag
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Publication Date:
19970931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.41 x 1.44 in 1.7 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Memoirs of a Geisha Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$2.95 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9780375400117 Reviews:
"Review" by , "If Golden had done no more than elucidate these details in fine prose, this book would still be of enormous interest as a window into a culture that, like the geisha's white-painted face, seems to be the extreme, even twisted, manifestation of male erotic fantasy."
"Review" by , "Wonderful, involving, intelligent, fascinating, and almost Dickensian in the way the characters inhabit the landscape, and the landscape permeates the characters. It's a unique, beautifully written book."
"Synopsis" by , 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.

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