Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel

Front Cover
Alfred A. Knopf, 1997 - Fiction - 434 pages
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 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; 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 nuance 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.
 

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User Review  - electrascaife - LibraryThing

Historical fiction about the life of a geisha in Japan starting with her childhood and moving through her training and the turns her life takes through WWII and beyond. I enjoyed the story quite a bit ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - PaulaGalvan - LibraryThing

I picked up this paperback at the L.A. book fair because I have always been curious about the Geishas. The book was entertaining and informative, but also dashed all my romantic notions about these ... Read full review

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Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
7
Section 3
18
Section 4
30
Section 5
45
Section 6
59
Section 7
67
Section 8
79
Section 20
223
Section 21
234
Section 22
244
Section 23
254
Section 24
265
Section 25
277
Section 26
288
Section 27
304

Section 9
92
Section 10
105
Section 11
115
Section 12
128
Section 13
139
Section 14
154
Section 15
162
Section 16
176
Section 17
188
Section 18
197
Section 19
209
Section 28
317
Section 29
333
Section 30
345
Section 31
357
Section 32
368
Section 33
378
Section 34
390
Section 35
405
Section 36
419
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

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.

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