Brittany's Reviews > Geisha, a Life

Geisha, a Life by Mineko Iwasaki
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's review
Jan 24, 2011

liked it
Read from January 23 to 24, 2011

When I started reading this I had no idea this was the Geisha that told the Karyukai secrets to Arthur Golden when he was doing research for his book. It soon became clear as a lot of things rang the same, or had the same tone to them. This book received 3 stars rather than 4 from me because of a two things:
1) It wasn't as engrossing as I was hoping.
2) I felt like a lot was lost in translation. You would be reading along and then all of the sudden, it seemed as if you were jumping into something else. There were many, many times where I had to go back to the previous page to make sure I was reading correctly.

I am sure that Mineko is an amazing storyteller, but somewhere in there, some of that was lost to translation and parts of her story were cut out in order to make the book shorter and more condensed. But what I really wanted was more detail. I was left with a lot of questions.

I am glad that Mineko came out and told her story, because despite the anger it incurred from the Gion and geisha society...I fear that someday in the near future these arts will be lost to us. I hope that is not so. If nothing else, they are changing. To record a spot in time every now and then is a blessing.

I would recommend this book if you are deeply interested in Japanese culture, and in particular Geisha culture, but if you are looking for something with jazz and interest, pick up Memoirs of a Geisha instead. A little less accurate and true-to-life, but much more engrossing.
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