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Review – Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

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I was disappointed to discover that this is not actually a true memoir of a geisha. I didn’t know this when I picked it up, but it’s all over the bestseller lists right now. I think it’s a decent book; it just wasn’t what I expected.

It’s basically a kind of 20th century regency romance, set in Japan.

If I had known it was that sort of story, I would have been really impressed. The description of how Sayuri becomes a geisha, and the historical setting is descriptive and interesting.

But 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.

I should say, I heard this book on tape, rather than read it. A woman with a Japanese accent reads the audio version. Her reading was very engaging, and the accent added a dimension of location that would not have been present on the page.

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  • Ashley

    If you are looking for a book that is an actual memoir of a geisha….the try “Geisha, A Life” by Mineko Iwasaki. I used this book as a reference when writing a paper about “Memoirs of a Geisha” it is wonderfully written with the same playful imagery and words as the character Sayuri has in Arthur Golden’s book. Enjoy

  • Chantal

    Love that book….also try “Autobiography of a Geisha” by Sayo Masuda.

  • RogerMDillon

    I don’t understand what you thought you were buying?

    Sure, titles can be confusing. Someone does die in “Death of a Salesman”, yet there are no grapes in “The Grapes of Wrath”. However, this is one time you should judge a book by its cover. Right under the title, it says it’s a novel. Bestsellers’ lists are divided by category like fiction and non-fiction.

  • http://spaces.msn.com/members/kimberhaze/ Kimberhaze

    This book was mesmerizing, can’t wait to see the movie. I hope it’s not as disappointing as they are leading me to think it might be.

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