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Memoirs of a Geisha

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  1,046,048 ratings  ·  20,961 reviews
This story is a rare and utterly engaging experience. It tells the extraordinary story of a geisha -summoning up a quarter century from 1929 to the post-war years of Japan's dramatic history, and opening a window into a half-hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation. A young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha h...more
Paperback, 428 pages
Published June 4th 1998 by Vintage (first published 1997)
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Lady Anne صراحة ، انا كنت بدي اقرأ الرواية عشان الفلم ، بس الكتاب طلع فعلا 'حاجة تأنيه خالص' . الفلم كثييييييييير مقطع الكتاب وحاذف مقاطع كاملة احيانا ، مع انه…moreصراحة ، انا كنت بدي اقرأ الرواية عشان الفلم ، بس الكتاب طلع فعلا 'حاجة تأنيه خالص' . الفلم كثييييييييير مقطع الكتاب وحاذف مقاطع كاملة احيانا ، مع انه محافظ على الشعور العام الا انه لم يوفه حقه . الكتاب اجمل بكثير والأحداث مفسرة بشكل اكبر ، مثلا قصة ماميها مفسرة بشكل اكبر وأجمل في الكتاب مع البارون (الفلم تقريبا حاذفها) دروس سايوري في المدرسة ، علاقتها مع الناس اللي ساكنين جيون ، علاقتها مع الام والعمة وبامبكين كلها اجمل في الكتاب . مع انه الرواية من أطول الكتب اللي قرأتها بس ممتعة جداً وحسب رأيي ، مع انه الفلم جميل ، الكتاب اجمل :)

ملاحظة: انا قرأت الكتاب بالانجليزية ، ما بعرف عن الترجمة العربية بس بقترح (اذا قررت تقرأ الرواية) تقرأها باللغة الأصلية (الانجليزية) احسن ، لانه الكاتب لغته جميلة جدا ، اعتقد انه رح تضيع اذا أترجمت . (less)
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Community Reviews

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Juushika
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 more 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...more
Liz Lynch
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 more complicated aspects of a Japan in decline, focusing mostly on...more
Sophia.

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...more
Jeffrey Keeten
”Whatever our struggles and triumphs, however we may suffer them, all too soon they bleed into a wash, just like watery ink on paper. “

 photo MinekoIwasaki_zpsceab2a8e.jpg
Geisha Mineko Iwasaki basis for Chiyo/Sayori.

Chiyo, 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...more
T.J.
Damn if you aren't one of the most problematic things I've ever read, Memoirs of a Geisha.

Like 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 2000:

"Golden 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 covere...more
Megan B.
Feb 13, 2008 Megan B. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Megan B. by: no one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Khalid
Memoirs of a Geisha is an amazing novel that discusses the life of a Geisha, a Japanese artist-entertainer. Both its very exotic setting, with its extremely different value system, and its fascinating plot, which grabs your interest early on and keeps you waiting for more all along, contribute to making this novel a special book worthy of reading.

The best quality in this novel, in my opinion, is the way the narrator (Chiyo), tells the story. Her reflections concerning much of the events in the n...more
Jason Koivu
A Cinderella romance that unexpectedly swept me away! Memoirs of a Geisha is a very picturesque and dramatic tale of a young village girl taken from her family and raised in Kyoto as a geisha.

Usually I don't go in for romance. Don't get me wrong, I love love. But I prefer my love stories to be true. There is something immensely powerful about real love. As far as I've been able to discover, much of this story is based on the actual events of the life of former geisha Mineko Iwasaki. Why do I th...more
Katie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Zara Aimaq
I first read this book in high school, and although I remember liking it, I don't think I was paying very much attention because I seriously thought the book was just about a bunch of Japanese hookers. But I reread it a few weeks ago, and I loved the story. Memoirs is about the life of this peasanth girl, Sayuri, in pre and post-WW2 Japan who is sold into life as an apprentive Geisha, and then ultimately, an actual Geisha.

The novel is full of these really great, vivid details of a variety of ch...more
Jillian
The book in itself presents an interesting story, and makes for an entertaining read, but what bothers me about this book is that the vast majority of Western readers interpret it as a historically accurate memoir, when in fact it was written by an American author for an American audience, and therefore has achieved its success through appealing to and reinforcing the stereotypes about Japanese culture in America. Another reviewer on this website writes, "It is a wonderful introduction to... Jap...more
Michi
Very entertaining, but kind of made me gag. Everything was written in this faux-asian "My heart ached like cherry blossom petals floating on the river..." bullshit.
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
The Book Report: The politics of the okiya, or geisha house, closely examined through the rise of Chiyo, an unpromising girl sold into slavery by her peasant family, to become Sayuri, a sought-after and renowned geisha in pre-WWII Kyoto.

Chiyo's arrival in the okiya is inauspicious, and her introduction into the horrible world of all-female hatreds and politics comes at a heavy price. She attempts to run away back to the family that sold her into slavery in the first place, which shows that kids...more
Alena
Golden earns points for creativity, but loses them for inaccuracy.

The "memoir" of the elegant Sayuri, whose life as a high-class geisha is disrupted by the outbreak of war, is written in an intriguing and alluring monologue -- purportedly narrated by Sayuri herself to the author -- that pulls the reader in from the very beginning. Unfortunately, the real narrator, Arthur Golden, took some dramatic liberties with history and cultural practices, and the fallacious elements sprinkled throughout det...more
Denise
Jan 03, 2008 Denise rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Denise by: Book Group
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rola
مازلت أتخبط فى رأيى.
ما بين الانبهار بحياة الجيشا و الدهشة حد الغيظ, تخيل فقط معى ما هو تعريف الجيشا "هن ببساطة محظيات الرجال فى اليابان" , طبقة إجتماعية معروفة بل أكاد أقول "راقية" , لوظيفتهن رتب و لأماكن تجمعهن مكاتب تسجيل و دفاتر و رسوم و لكل جيشا سمعة تسعى بتقاليد معينة للحفاظ عليها! !!!!!
كم الهوان فى الأمر رأيته من منظور مختلف , حيث الرجل ليس المتهم الوحيد , بل أيضا المرأة التى ترى فى كونها جيشا مدعاة للفخر و الشرف, هكذا صب فى أذنيها و هكذا آمنت على مر الأعوام.

و لأفسر كم الحيرة , لم أجزم ع...more
mai ahmd
حين كنتُ أدرس التاريخ الجاهلي في شبة الجزيرة العربية كانت هناك فقرة تتكرر دائما عن وضع المرأة في المجتمع عبارة كنت أشعر أنهم يكررونها بشكل متعمد لإهانة جنس النساء كان المؤلف يصف معاملة الرجل المرأة على أساس إنها متاع أو ما شابه حين كنت أقرأ الجيشا رنّت تلك العبارة في ذهني مسترجعة قسوة الرجل ولامبالاته تجاه هذا الكائن الحي !
أي وضع مأساوي كانت تعيشه المرأة في الهند أو الصين أو اليابان أو عند العرب أو غيرهم شرقا وغربا لم يكن يختلف !
الأنثى كانت تدور دوما في فلك الرجل تموت و تحيا لأجله !
الجيشا درّبت...more
Wilson
Alright, so if white people are not allowed to put on make up to try and make themselves look somehow like they are black people in movies (unless you're Ted Danson) without being wholloped on, why is it OK for Arthur Golden, who I don't know but I wager is not a Japanese geisha, to write a book that he passes off as the actual memoir of a Japanese geisha? And then have people say, "You know what, Arthur really captured the essence of the Japanese geisha." Why? Because he eventually had sex with...more
Hannah
This book was well written, interesting, tasteful, and informative. It seems like the author really did his research.

The culture of this book is what interested me the most. The role women played and their place in society. Although this is merely "based on actual events", I kind of took a lot of it as what really went on. I've always thought of a Geisha like a prostitute, not as a companion/entertainer. I never thought about it being a career that they would have had special schools for young...more
Arah-Lynda

A beautiful, poingnant story that is so incredibly, lyrically captivating you are seduced from the very first word. An absolute work of art, each page overflows with beautiful, sensual, evocative images.

Such is the skill and authority of Golden's writing, I feel as though I have spent hours, being entertained by the most gifted of all Geisha. Utterly Satisfying. I want to read it again for the very first time!

midnightfaerie
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden was phenomenal. One of my book clubs picked it this month and I just saw the selection and realized I owned it and it was already on my list but didn't think I'd have time to read it in the next two weeks. But just for the heck of it, I picked it up and decided to just read the first chapter to see how I liked it. It took me less than three days to finish it. I absolutely loved this book. It was well written and gave an eloquent and sometime graphic portrayal...more
Jessica
I can't remember what made me pick up this book -- it must have been that edition's cover, which was highly gorgeous: bright bright white with big red geisha lips. I think part of me wanted to be above this kind of thing, but you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed it. Memoirs of a Geisha was a fairytale in novel form, and completely absorbing even when it got slightly ridiculous. It's one of those chocolate cake kind of books, descriptively rich, demanding your full attention and almost too sweet b...more
Loederkoningin
I got tricked into thinking this actually was Chiyo's biography. I read the preface by the imaginary professor matter of factly, not giving much thought to it. Of course the idea of reading an autobiography sparked my excitement. I liked the prose, the part of the book in which Chiyo was not yet abducted stood out and "felt" Japanese. What quickly brought me back on the right track again, was the formulaic style. Chiyo's life consisted of a little too many Cinderella ingredients to not make me d...more
Marianne
I read this lovely novel on the plane home from Japan, finishing it upon my return to the US. I was surprised - given that it was written by a Western man - how accurately the Japanese culture was portrayed (at least from the limited knowledge I gleaned during my short time living there, and given that it was set in a time when Japan was, in many ways, very different from today).

Perhaps it was because I'd just left this beautiful country, but I was clearly able to imagine the vivid depictions de...more
Jen
May 14, 2008 Jen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jen by: Robin
Shelves: fiction
My friend Robin sent this book to me shortly after I moved to Tokyo. It was hard to find English-language books at first, so she sent me a couple to keep me reading. I probably would not have been interested in Memoirs of a Geisha had I not just moved to Japan. But I found it to be one of the best books I've ever read.

When I first started reading the book, I wanted to see what Sayuri looked like, so I did a Google search. It was then that I realized the book I was reading was not a biography, bu...more
Madeline
A beautiful story that explores the secret world of the Japanese geisha (if you think that geisha = prostitue, you need to read this book just to learn how wrong that assumption is), told in the style of an interview with a woman named Sayuri Nitta, who used to be one of the most famous geisha in Kyoto. My favorite parts of the story were the detailed descriptions of geisha beauty rituals (they wax their hair and sleep with their necks resting on wooden blocks so they don't mess up the hairstyle...more
Abdullah
Nov 08, 2008 Abdullah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ahmed therwi , Bader , HoPe , Nalsudairi , Heba , Ahlam
Shelves: favorites, audiobooks
It's my favorite novel. I consider it the best I have ever read. I love it so much that every time I read it I find myself living within it, as if I was one of the characters.
The movie wasn't as good as the novel. In fact it wasn't even that good ! I advise you to read the novel FIRST !

I highly recommend you to listen to the audio book for the novel, read by: Carole Boyd.
She did a great job. It's amazing the way she interacts with the characters, and also I love her accent !

-------------

طريقة س...more
Thomas
People were skeptical when Kathryn Stockett wrote in the voice of two black women in The Help. Arthur Golden took it to another level when he, a white, middle-aged man, narrated as an orphaned Japanese girl on her way to becoming a geisha.

It worked, though. Even without knowledge of Golden's extensive experience studying Japanese culture and history, the reader is led to believe that the protagonist is telling the story herself. Memoirs of a Geisha transported me to a different era, where superf...more
Mashael Alamri
حينما تجبرنا الحياة على سلوك طريق واحد وتختفي الخيارات نكون مثل الذي تربطه الأيام بخيط وتجره بإتجاه معين دون أن يكون له قرار سوى التأمل لكل ما يمر من جانبه

التجربه الإنسانية تأسرني أيً كانت فالحديث عن حياة بآئسه تترك فيّ الكثير من الأثر إستوقفتني الرواية كنت أتأمل كثيراً كيف لطفله أن تنتزع من مكانها وتباع كيف لها أن تتدبر أمرها ؟ ربما يكون الفقر وخوف والدها عليها هو مادعاه للموافقه على بيعها ربما فعل ذلك من يئسه ,لكن الوحده التي إستحالت حياتها إليها قاتله , لكن شيو -شان حولت الوحده وتبعاتها لحا...more
Annalisa
Oct 13, 2007 Annalisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy learning historical fact mingled into a fascinating story
Recommended to Annalisa by: Analise
What I love most about this book is how well it puts you into Japanese culture in the early 20th century. The characters, both loved and hated, are deep, multi-faceted embodiments of that culture. Sometimes while reading a book the stage set by the author becomes more real than your own surroundings. You become so enthralled in the story that you almost believe if you visited the era you could walk into a scene from the book. Even years later the details remain firm in your mind. This is a well-...more
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Fiction Fanatics: September - Memoirs of a Geisha 7 25 Oct 06, 2014 12:32AM  
Should Sayuri have chosen Nobu or the Chairman? 120 1165 Sep 10, 2014 06:26PM  
Was I the only one who thought Sayuri and Memeha were Selfish? 14 274 Sep 10, 2014 06:25PM  
Memoirs Of Geisha book or movie? 52 225 Sep 10, 2014 06:35AM  
YA Buddy Readers'...: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden - starts 10 july 15 25 Aug 03, 2014 12:39PM  
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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 in Beijing University, he worked in Tokyo, and, after returning to the United States, earned an M.A. in Engli...more
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