ePUB Arthur Golden Ì Ì Memoirs of a Geisha Epub ✓ Memoirs of eBook

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exuisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geishaIn 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 uniue and triumphant work of fiction at once romantic erotic suspenseful and completely unforgettable


10 thoughts on “Memoirs of a Geisha

  1. says:

    Memoirs of a Geisha is an American novel and as such the attempt at West does East especially on the complex and delicate subject of the geisha is compelling interesting but also heavy handed and ultimately ineffective even so in the case of the film It is a wonderful introduction to geisha Japanese culture and the East for the uninitiated Western reader and I can see why the book is popular but I found it disappointing For the reader already familiar with the culture western influences are all too clear and the book comes off as a bit clunky and imperfect I also had some problems with the general perception of the characters by readers versus the way the characters were actually portrayed in the book Memoirs is far from the good willed fairy tale that people assume it is By all means read it but leave it open for critiue and remember that a authentic representation of eastern culture especially in the details will come from the east itselfA lot of my critiue stems from the fact that this movie has attained such wide spread fame and been made into a movie to be sure I feel like it is being perpetuated as something it is not Even the introduction to the book a faux translator's note perpetuates the myth that Memoirs is an accurate beautiful in depth reflection of the life of a geisha when in truth it is no that historical fiction and is written by an outsider Golden has done his research and is well educated on his subjects and I have no problem with people reading from taking interest in and even learning from this book; I do however think it is important that readers don't conflate the American novel with Japanese reality They aren't the same thing no matter how much research Golden did and if we take the book as an accurate representation we're actually underestimating and undervaluing geisha Japan and Japanese cultureBecause Golden attempts to write from within the geisha culture as a Japanese woman he must do than report the facts of that life he must also pretend to be a part of it Pretend he does acting out a role as if he has studied inflection script and motivation He certainly knows what makes writing Japanese but his attempt to mimic it is not entirely successful The emphasis on elements the independent sentences the visual details are too prevalent and too obvious as if Golden is trying to call our attention to them and thus to the Japanese style of the text He does manage to draw attention but to me at least what I came away with was the sense that Golden was an American trying really hard to sound Japanese that is the effect betrayed the attempt and the obvious attempt ruined the sincerity of the novel for me I felt like I was being smacked over the head with beauty wood water kimono haiku and I felt insulted and disappointedThe problems that I saw in the text were certainly secondary to the purpose of the text to entertain to introduce Western readers to Japanese culture and to sell books and eventually a film They may not be obvious to all readers and they aren't so sever that the book isn't worth reading I just think readers need to keep in mind that what Golden writes is fiction Historical fiction yes but still fiction therefore we should look for a true representation of Japanese culture within Japanese culture itself and take Memoirs with a grain of saltI also had problems with the rushed end of the book the belief that Sayuri is a honest good modest generous person when she really acts for herself and at harm to others throughout much of the book the perpetuation of Hatsumomo as unjustified and cruel when she has all the reason in the world and in general the public belief that Memoirs is some sort of fairy tale when in fact it is heavy handed biased and takes a biased or unrelatistic view toward situations characters and love However all of those complains are secondary in my view to the major complain above and should be come obvious to the readerMemoirs goes uickly is compelling and makes a good read and I don't want to sound too unreasonably harsh on it However I believe the book has a lot of faults that aren't widely acknowledged and I think we as readers need to keep them in mind This is an imperfect Western book and while it may be a fun or good book it is not Japanese authentic or entirely well done


  2. says:

    Like eating fancy dessert at a gourmet restaurant Memoirs of a Geisha is beautiful melts lightly off the tongue and will be forgotten shortly after it's done The language is strikingly lovely and Golden paints a remarkable picture of a time and place If you're looking to learn something deep about the psychology of Japanese culture or meet nuanced characters then I'd steer you elsewhere The story only skims the top of the complicated aspects of a Japan in decline focusing mostly on a genteel lifestyle that probably seems appealing from the outside There's a way in which the book written by a man and a westerner is slightly fetishistic but less so than you might imagineAnother reader suggested that perhaps the superficiality of the story is intentional and that the book in a way resembles a geisha Beautiful and eager to please yet too distant to really learn much from and ultimately little than a beautiful well crafted object to be appreciated If that's the case Arthur Golden is remarkably clever and I applaud him If it's not the case the book remains very pretty and an easy read


  3. says:

    So Memoirs of a Geisha I'd been wanting to read that one for a very long time I had heard so many good things about it It's supposed to be awesome and deep and beautiful right? Wrong It's not The writing was what bothered me the most It's pretentious and superficial and sloooooww and it goes on and on and on and on and on and still very little happens In some sort of weird combination the writing is both superficial and cliché It feels like Golden thought it would be a good idea to emphasize all the Japan and nature clichés to the point of ridiculousness I still can't believe how many times he compares something to the nature Ironically it doesn't feel natural at all It feels forced and weird and and it's very annoying as it slows down the pacing which is already very slow and freuently interrupts the narrator's flow of thoughts Examples? Yes yes Because I was so sick and tired of reading for the 40th time how something is LIKE a bird or a snake or whatever I made a list Enjoy people This is how Sayuri narrates the story Please notice and enjoy how natural this way of thinking sounds I felt as a dam must feel when it's holding back an entire riverI felt as sore as a rock must feel when the waterfall has pounded on it all day longMy poor scalp felt the way clay must feel after the potter has scored it with a sharp stickAnd it goes on Like water bugs kicking along the surfaceLike the crisp skin of a grilled fishLike a scrap of paper in the windLike ruts in the bark of a treeAnd on Like a pig trying to survive in a slaughterhouseLike a stray cat on the street without a master to feed itMy mind on the eve of my debut was like a garden in which the flowers have only begun to poke their faces up through the soilIt was like when a caterpillar turns into a butterflyOut of my element as a pigeon in a nest of falconsFelt as a simple smelt must feel when a silver salmon glides byStill not enough? I was hoping you'd say that Here you goview spoiler Like what a workman does to a field using a hoe felt the way clay must feel after the potter has scored it with a sharp stickI felt as the waves of the ocean must feel when clouds have blocked the warmth of the sunAs if he were the wind that blew and I were just a cloud carried upon itLike a tree and its roots or like a shrine and the gate that stands before itWith as much difficulty as a hungry child turns away from a plate of foodI felt like a slab of tuna the grocer had just deliveredI was like a temple bell that resonates long after it has been struckI tried to imagine I was simply a house standing in the rain with the water washing down the front of meLike when a stone is dropped into a pond the water continues uivering even after the stone has sunk to the bottomLike the tree where the tiger might sharpen its clawsLike a fish belly up on the streamA tree may look as beautiful as ever; but when you notice the insects infesting it and the tips of the branches that are brown from disease even the trunk seems to lose some of its magnificenceAs much a part of her as a song is part of a birdWas as simple as a stone falling toward the groundIf you no longer have leaves or bark or roots can you go on calling yourself a tree?Felt toward him just as an ice pick feels toward a block of iceThe two of them weren't spending time together any than a suirrel is spending time with the insects that live in the same treeLike the fisherman who hour after hour scoops out fish with his netLike a mouse expecting sympathy from the snakeLike rice pouring from a torn sackExpanding just like a river whose waters have begun to swellI was like a child tiptoeing along a precipice overlooking the sea And yet somehow I hadn't imagined a great wave might come and strike me there and wash everything awayLike a snake that had spotted a mouseYour eyes hang all over him like fur on a dogI began to feel like a tree whose roots had at last broken into the rich wet soil deep beneath the surfaceJust as naturally as the leaves fall from the treesJust as a stone must fall toward the earthIt was all like a stream that falls over rocky cliffs before it can reach the oceanNo permanent than a wave rising on the oceanJust like watery ink on paper hide spoiler


  4. says:

    ”Whatever our struggles and triumphs however we may suffer them all too soon they bleed into a wash just like watery ink on paper “ Geisha Mineko Iwasaki basis for ChiyoSayoriChiyo with her sister Satsu and her mother and father live in a shack by the sea on the coast of Japan The shack leans and has to be propped up to keep from total collapse Her mother is sick and on the verge of death Her father is a fisherman uneducated and generally befuddled by anything that doesn’t have to do with his fishing nets When a businessman from the village comes to them with an offer to take their girls to the city it doesn’t take much to convince the father that nearly any opportunity is better than staying there in the tilted shack by the sea He was wrong Or was he? Without a crystal ball or access to a series of timelines showing the variations created by changing key decisions at critical junctures how can we know? Satsu who is fifteen is promptly placed with a brothel Not exactly what her father had in mind I’m sure he was told she would be trained for “domestic service” Chiyo who is nine is deemed young enough to be trained to be a geisha She is a lovely child with startling rare grayblue eyes Those Blue Eyes are what set her apartThe Mother of her geisha house is eually startling in appearance ”Instead of being white and clear the whites of her eyes had a hideous yellow cast and made me think at once of a toilet into which someone had just urinated They were rimmed with the raw lip of her lids in which a cloudy moisture was pooled and all around them the skin was sagging”Obvious a bit of a failing liver issue going on here but wait she is really much mugly ”I drew my eyes downward as far as her mouth which still hung open The colors of her face were all mixed up the rims of her eyelids were red like meat and her gums and tongue were gray And to make things horrible each of her lower teeth seemed to be anchored in a little pool of blood at the gums” Okay so Chiyo lets out a gasp She starts out her new life in trouble It doesn’t end there She is uickly considered a threat to the lovely and vindictive Hatsumomo who is the only fully trained geisha working for the house Chiyo is accused of stealing not true She is accused of ruining an expensive kimono with ink true but under duress She is caught trying to escape she broke her arm in the process so try and give the kid a break Well all of this ends up costing her two years working as a housemaid when she could have been training as a geisha She receives an unexpected benefactress a mortal enemy of Hatsumomo named Mameha decides to take Chiyo under her wing and insure that she has another opportunity to become a geisha Chiyo tired of scrubbing floors and being the do this and do that girl of the household realizes her best chance at some form of freedom is to elevate herself The Movie based on this book was released in 2005 and directed by Rob MarshallAt age 15 her virginity or mizuage is put up for auction It is hard not to think of this as a barbaric custom but for a geisha if a bidding war erupts she can earn enough money to pay off all the debts that have accumulated for her training Chiyo now called Sayuri is fortunate to have two prominent men wanting to harvest her flower The winner is Dr Crab who paid a record amount for the privilege ”Of course his name wasn’t really Dr Crab but if you’d seen him I’m sure the same name would have occurred to you because he had his shoulders hunched up and his elbows sticking out so much he couldn’t have done a better imitation of a crab if he’d made a study of it He even led with one shoulder when he walked just like a crab moving along sideways”Not the vision that any girl would have for her first time but ultimately it is a business transaction that frees Sayori from the bonds of debt After the deed is done the eel spit in the cave Dr Crab brought out a kit filled with bottles that would have made Dexter jealous Each bottle has a blood sample soaked in a cotton ball or a piece of towel of every geisha he has ever treated including the blood from his couplings for their virginity He cuts a piece of blood soaked towel that was under Sayori and added it to the bottle with her name Ewwehhh with a head snapping shiverThe cultural obsession every country seems to have one with female virginity is simply pathological Girls can’t help but be fearful of the process Not strapped to a table by a serial killer type fear but still there has to be that underlying hum as the man prepares to enter her I wonder if men especially those who avidly pursue the deflowering of maidens are getting off on that fear? I’ve made myself feel a little ueasy now Sayori is on her way to a successful career She is in love with a man called The Chairman and wishes that he will become her danna a patron who can afford to keep a geisha as a mistress There are people in the way keeping them from being together and so even though there were many geishas who wished for her level of success she still couldn’t help feeling sad ”And then I became aware of all the magnificent silk wrapped about my body and had the feeling I might drown in beauty At that moment beauty itself struck me as a kind of painful melancholy “It was fascinating watching this young girl grow up in such a controlling environment; and yet a system that can also be very deadly One misstep one bit of scandal and many geishas found themselves ostracized by the community They could very easily find themselves in a brothel During WW2 the geisha community was disbanded and the girls had to find work elsewhere Sayori was fortunate Despite all the hardships I know she was enduring Arthur Golden chose not to dwell on them in great detail I was surprised by this because authors usually want and need to press home those poignant moments so that when the character emerges from the depths of despair the reader can have a heady emotional response to triumph over tragedy I really did feel like I was sitting down for tea with Sayori many years later and she as a way of entertaining me was telling me her life story Golden interviewed a retired geisha by the name of Mineko Iwasaki who later sued him for using too much of her life story to produce this book She even had light brown eyes not as striking as Sayori's bluegray eyes but certainly light enough to be unusual I wonder if Iwasaki was still the perfect geisha keeping her story uplifting and glossing over the aspects that could make her company uncomfortable Mineko IwasakiThe book is listed in the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die It was also made into a film which I’ve been avoiding knowing that I wanted to read the book first I notice some reviewers take issue with Sayori They feel she did not assert herself and take control of her life She does in the end but she is patient and waits for a moment when she can predict the outcome I feel that she did what she needed to do to survive Most of the time she enjoyed being a geisha It takes a long time to learn not only the ways to entertain but also all the rigid traditions that must be understood to be a successful geisha As she gets older and can clearly define the pitfalls of her actions we see her manipulating the system in her favor If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  5. says:

    This book was wonderful I absolutely love the movie which I now need to watch In many ways this was a sad story for me I would really like to read a biography of a geisha and watch a documentary to really look into their world We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill going or less in one direction until we splash into something that forces us to find a new course Happy Reading Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾


  6. says:

    Damn if you aren't one of the most problematic things I've ever read Memoirs of a GeishaLike much of non Asian America I was swept up in the delight of reading this book in 2000 I was fifteen and precocious and the narrative was arresting I couldn't put the book down I wrote this in 2000Golden has hit pay dirt with this masterpiece An insightful curious and caring look into the mysterious world of geisha Arthur Golden peels away the ignorance and labeling that westerners have covered the secretive Japanese profession Although it sinks at times into a near melodramatic prose the book's protagonist is interesting insightful and enjoyable Her witty anecdotes and thoughtful mannerisms in speaking make Memoirs of a Geisha a delightful and unstoppable readThen I got older went to college and graduate school and developed a critical thinking eyeAnd I'm mad at myself insightful? Really? God I was naive This novel while entertaining is so problematic I rarely have time to descend into my criticism It continues the Orientalism that Edward Said loathed so very much; rather than skillfully entering the world of a Japanese woman it apes her identity and ultimately deprives her of a voice creating a sort of Orientalist imagination for us to enjoy without ever really seeing her The book is still engaging as a narrative but the sappy ending the frankly sexist portrayals at some points and Sayuri's outright inability to identify outside of her Chairman is rather frightening It serves to objectify fetishism at its worst Yet I can only give you three stars because I'm still partly under your spell Golden Damn


  7. says:

    I became fascinated with Japanese culture when I was a teenage girl and since then I have read many Japanese related books and articles and have watched many movies and animes that depict parts of Japanese culture but the fact remains that I am not Japanese I have never been to Japan and I am a foreigner captivated by this exotic and very different cultureAs a foreigner I see many beautiful and uniue aspects to Japanese culture but I also know about certain painful historical facts such as treatment of women in certain eras of Japan My point is I don’t want to discuss accuracy of this book regarding Geisha life I am not Japanese and I am not a historian and therefore I am not ualified to judge So I keep my opinion and impression Geisha to myselfIt appears that this story is based on the life of a certain geisha but the author clearly states that both the story and characters are fictional and I am going to stick with thatI admit that I was disappointed when I realized that this turned out to be fiction only and only because I had been told otherwise by author himself while reading the preface I mean what’s with the contradiction? I couldn’t understand the pretense Why pretend this is a real story when it’s a beautiful fiction? What’s wrong with fiction? I admit as I reached the end of the book I came to realize why the author tried to portray this story as a real life story when writing the introduction but I will write about that laterI liked the writing style Some people may find it pretentious but I understood that this is an attempt to write as close as possible to Japanese style of writing and story telling and to seem poetic The writing also helped me to see the world through Chiyo’s eyes and better understand her mind I should mention that Chiyo and Sayuri are the same personSome people may say parts of the story drag on and on and yet nothing important happens I uickly get bored but I couldn’t put this book down once I had started reading and I had already seen the movie years ago This is not a perfect book but it is an amazing one Little Chiyo simply captivated me with her storyI wanted her to survive to fight and to find happiness There isn’t a single character in this story that I actually hate They are all different human beings with flaws of their own that struggle to survive and get by their hard lives Some choose to do so by crushing others and some choose to do so by fighting their way through and lending a helping hand when they canI might have had a few explosions regarding treatment of women and the way chiyo’s mind operates if I didn’t know Japanese culture at the time of this story well enough I have Japanese friends so I know what I am talking about itChiyo is uite young when she falls in love with a man much older than her too young in my opinion to fall in love but I understood her feelings The moment she meets the love of her life Chairman is a turning point in her story and happens to be my most favorite partYes she focuses her entire life on reaching this man As a woman I would have liked her to have bigger goals and dreams of her own and for example seek freedom or independence but when I think about her situation her education and upbringing I get herChiyo is a slave being trained for the sole purpose of pleasuring men Men that mean nothing to her and are like alien beings Up to this point not a single person has shown her any kindness without ill intentions and when she is about to lose her faith in humanity a man appears out of nowhere and shows her true kindness Finally a man means something to her One of these men that she is supposed to serve has a face and value to her I am not surprised she made it her life purpose to reach him I would have liked her to interact with him during the course of the story but it wasn’t really necessary Chairman was the man SHE wanted and SHE desired for herself Considering her life that was a big goal And I didn’t really need to know about Chairman He was the symbol of true kindness Her dedication to reach him was moving and touched me very deeplyAs I said before during parts of this story nothing important really happens but I was eager to learn about Geisha life The author is obviously well informed and has done his research The story was interesting enough All characters seemed real and relatable I even liked Hatsumomo And even though I wanted Chiyo to reach the love of her life and therefore happiness than anything I liked Nobu a lot too He was a great man but it’s not like we can change our emotions or how we feel about different people and their behaviors whenever we want to I could feel Sayuri’s misery and fear as she had to make decisions that would ultimately hurt people dear to her from Pumpkin to Nobu Sayuri is simply human She too acts selfish and neglects her friends I don’t blame her but I wish she had acted differently at certain times at least regarding poor PumpkinI also clearly felt the touch of war and the darkness that spreads over hearts and souls at such a time The fear pain and misery as everything changes and there is no longer any certainty to the futureI was touched by the relationship between Chairman and Nobu even though it was only behind the scene and between the lines Once you think about it it was a very deep and touching bond Although poor Sayuri had to suffer because of this very bond I understood why Chairman had to act the way he didThe only part of the book that made me laugh and shake my head at the author the AMERICAN author was the part regarding American soldiers throwing candy at children It was mentioned abruptly and I found it very funny Two nuclear bombs and this is what Sayuri comments about Yes I am sure American soldiers weren’t as scary as they were supposed to be but they were still invaders It takes time for certain wounds to heal It’s not about American soldiers It’s about war invasion and lossAt the end this is not a fairy tale I am a fan of fairy tales and I firmly believe in happy endings Ironic since in real life I am very realistic and even cynical But when I open a book I want happy endings Somewhere along the way I had started to dream of a fairy tale style happy ending for little Chiyo and reading the last pages of the book left me a little sad That’s why as I mentioned above it was after finishing the book that I understood why the author has tried to sell this story as a real one All throughout the book the story tries to remain realisticWhich is why sometimes nothing really happens and it's important to remember this when reading the bittersweet ending Otherwise the ending might feel a little unsatisfactory and even rushed But the truth is the bittersweet ending was still a happy ending just a realistic one Still I wasn’t 100% happy with it I agree that the author could have done better just by adding 50 pages or soIn conclusion this is the beautiful story of a little innocent girl as she fights her way through life and hardships in an unfair society and struggles to reach her loved one and have a reason to simply wake up every day and live This is not a fairy tale but it does contain certain elements of those tales therefore this book is not for everyone but I really enjoyed it and find it very memorable and special


  8. says:

    I read this a long time ago a favorite Its amazing a 'male' wrote this book sure 'felt' like a female speaking


  9. says:

    Well I finally got around to this one I think I understand its fan base and its subseuent literary worth; it was the Gone Girl of the 90's Only in popularity This time the fairy tale with Girl it seems as if we're comfortable with the cautionary tale in the 10's has a Cinderella and many suitors after her It is absolutely immersive a page turner that has as many colors as a used up coloring book I see the geisha in that light like La Marilyn the geisha are symbol of tragedy and misplaced youth and beautyThe plot is orchestrated in that well intentioned Great Novel tradition A Great Expectations meets Great Gatsby novelty item that's as pure as winter's snow that shimmers attracts the senses like a ruby from some volcano deep in the Pacific Metaphors and similes are very effectively used here their dual purpose is clear it tells the life story in a very non nebulous manner in clear concise not to be misconstrued mode; and the words seem authentic enough to evoke an actual geisha it is her telling you her memoirs sitting there with you drinking teaAlso Hastumomo in the role of ugly stepsister is an adversary from hell Grrrreat character Too bad she leaves the narrative at too crucial a juncture the anticlimax meaning then the immediate displacement of anything that did not fit into the societal standards from the board Lame She is a worthy nemesis to our heroine as voracious for fresh meat as a Great White The feud between them two is the centerpiece of this Fanny Hill like tale this enormously feminist ? text For in Gion Japan the geisha are treated like a lot of women have been like objects pawns or even disembodied ideas


  10. says:

    In a small Japanese fishing village of Yoroido on the coast of the Sea of Japan a child Chiyo Sakamoto 9 lives with an ancient father dying mother and older sister Satsu in a dilapidated home leaning over a cliff the year 1929 things are tough and will get harder as the Great Depression is about to commencethe impoverished family needs help and the two sisters are sold Pretty Chiyo with beautiful eyes to become a geisha after a long apprenticeship and the unlucky plain Satsu an abused prostituteIn a house that never becomes a home in the former royal capital of Kyoto in the section called Gion where most geisha live and the tea houses to entertain rich men there the scared girl is under the complete control of three money hungry women who show no pity Granny she has coins in her heart the matriarch and her two adopted daughters Mother the real boss and Auntie they love nicknames both are as unfeeling as Granny The only genuine geisha in residence is stunning Hatsumomo as beautiful as she is detestable and takes an odd instant hatred to the little girl and torments her nonstop One day while doing an errand the child starts crying in the streets her miserable life has no joy a man known as the chairman the owner of an important electronics business stops and comforts Chiyo leaving her his monogrammed handkerchief it will be the most prized possession the girl has at last someone cares she falls in love and this will remain forever After an aborted escape try with her sister she falls from the roof of a neighbor's house injuring herself things become even dismal Chiyo is demoted to a lowly maid in the house no school to learn her profession to the elation of cruel Hatsumomo Still life is cloudy and is never foreseen even the fortune tellers the geisha go to often can't predict accurately the most successful glamorous admired geisha in Kyoto Mameha becomes her Big Sister a mentor that can help any woman rise to the top how strange Her name is changed later to Sayuri she returns to school becomes a fine dancer and does a solo at the annual celebrations in the local theater her poster is painted by a famous alcoholic artist in town the career prospers but the chairman that Sayuri constantly meets in the tea house parties where the men get drunk on Sake listen to stories told watch the singing the dancing and music played by the geisha is rather distant and doesn't recognize the grown up woman Gruff Nobu scarred and disabled in a war the chairman's best friend and second in command at the electronics firm likes ChiyoSayuri he her love can never interfere too much respect for his colleague and they are so close it is a sad hopeless situation for Chiyo Sayuri The years roll by and war is on the horizon change is coming it always isthe now renowned geisha awaitsThe most famous popular geisha Mineko Iwasaki now retired one of the characters is based on her in the novel greatly helped Mr Arthur Golden in research revealing to him in confidence the secrets of the mysterious life of these women for the first time much to her later regret