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Memoirs of a Geisha

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  1,417,716 Ratings  ·  25,598 Reviews
A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated 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 pow
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Paperback, 398 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by 上海译文出版社 Shanghai Translation Publishing House (first published September 1997)
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Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) "Geisha" and "prostitute" are not the same thing. There are still geisha who are what the original word means: artists. "Gei" means "art." They…more"Geisha" and "prostitute" are not the same thing. There are still geisha who are what the original word means: artists. "Gei" means "art." They specialise in one of the performing arts: music, traditional dancing, reciting poetry or singing, etc. A real geisha's job is to act as a hostess in the true sense of the word, by providing conversation, serving food and drink etc at formal dinners, or accompanying a guest to observe the beauties of nature such as cherry blossoms, autumn colours etc--often with a picnic included, at which the geisha will serve the food or treats. They are paid for this service, but sex is not a given part of the service offered. There are indeed prostitutes in Japan, as there are in every other country in the world (except maybe Antarctica), but the terms are not interchangeable.(less)
Shahd Anwar 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
Mar 26, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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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
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T.J.
May 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Argona
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 culture.

As a foreigner, I see many beautiful and unique aspects to Japanese culture but I also know about certain painful historical facts such as
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Elyse
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this a long time ago ---(a favorite) --- Its amazing a 'male' wrote this book. (sure 'felt' like a female speaking).



Fabian
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I finally got around to this one. And I think I understand its fan base and subsequent literary worth; it was the "Gone Girl" of the 90's. This time, the fairy tale (with "Girl" it seems as if we're more comfortable with the cautionary tale in the '10s) 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 you ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I read this book back when it first came out. I never wrote a review of it because when I first joined GR I didn't really know what it was all about. It took a bit before it sunk in for me.

Now GR members get spammed at times. The newest form of spam is review bumping. I didn't even know that existed because..well I'm a slow learner. I kept noticing the same person's reviews on my thread. Several times a day. All day. For weeks. Someone finally pointed out to me that they are bumping their review
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Henry Avila
Jun 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 commence...the 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, a ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
93. Memoirs of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
خاطرات یک گیشا - آرتور گلدن (سخن) ادبیات
عنوان: خاطرات یک گیشا؛ نوشته: آرتور گلدن؛ مترجم: مریم بیات؛ تهران، سخن، 1380، در 640 ص؛ شابک: 9646961703؛ موضوع: داستان -- ژاپن -- تاریخ -- قرن 20 م
نمیدانم یادم نمانده کدامیک از سالهای بگذشته بود، که برای نخستین بار یک پی.دی.اف از همین کتاب با ترجمه ی بانو: مریم بیات برایم رسید، برنامه ای نوشتم تا متن پی.دی.اف را به فارسی آفیس نسخه 2003 برگردانم، بسیار سخت گذشت، بارها و بارها برنامه را مجبور شدم هوشمندتر کنم، تا این که
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Khadidja
Very interesting,entertaining, and quick to read! Chiyo/Sayuri and her sister Satsu were sold into slavery at the age of 9 by their father, Sayuri tells of her traumatic arrival at the Nitta okiya (a geisha house), where she endures harsh treatment from everyone, In spite of the problems she had to face, Sayuri became the beautiful geisha accomplished in the art of entertaining men.







“He was like a song I'd heard once in fragments but had been singing in my mind ever since.”

“Can't you see? Every s
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Ana
I can finally cross Memoirs of a Geisha off my list. I had my doubts about this book, but I'm happy to say I was wrong.

 photo geisha1_zpsupuborvx.jpg
Megan B.
Feb 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Michi
Jun 11, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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Khalid
Apr 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: already-read
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
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Katie
Aug 20, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Arah-Lynda
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top, i-said

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!

Jillian
Jun 19, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Saffron
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jesus! This is one long-a$$ book. It took me two weeks to finish but I did it. And in the end, it made me cry. Now I am sad that its over. I wish this book was never-ending on paper as much as this is everlasting in my mind.

Perfect. Sad. Beautiful. A great love story.
Zara Aimaq
Apr 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Ahmad Mustafa
4.5 stars
This novel is very rich and full of diverse characters and shows a big deal of the classic Japanese tradition.

-Every character represents an aspect and an attitude of humans

-Although it is lengthy but I don't find it boring,the length of the book helped in building up the anticipation for the end,thus more satisfaction.

-some people find it insulting to women,well it is a novel not the author's belief.

-I kinda liked Hatsumomo and felt bad for her end,she was the salt of the book.

-the ag
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Richard Derus
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
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Ashley
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't really know why I waited so long to read this book, and I most certainly never thought I would enjoy it as much as I did. Of course I realize this story is historical fiction and may not correctly depict the life of a geisha during the 1930s and 1940s in Japan in its entirety. I do feel, however, that I know quite a bit more about the geisha than I did before reading this book - both because of the book itself and of it inspiring me to research a little on my own.

My heart was absolutely
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Hannah
Dec 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars - Great book.

It took me a few chapters to get into the story and the characters – just about everything. The opening is fine but that’s it, just fine. I wasn’t pulled into the story in any way. Mediocre may be too strong of a word for the first three to four chapters but it definitely teeters on mediocre.

There are many different ways to draw me into a book but mostly I have to feel some sort of connection to the characters. I didn’t feel that in the first few chapters here. Honestly,
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Maiquel Costa
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incluso 4.5. Ha sido una maravilla seguir el camino de la protagonista desde niña y conocer el mundo velado de las geishas (o al menos tan tergiversado en occidente), y tantos términos, usos y palabras desconocidas para mí. Mundo todo él que me ha resultado muy interesante; libro didáctico y de lectura entretenida. Letras con vida. Para mi su protagonista es un ser que siente, padece (y mucho) y respira. Así como todos los personajes que deambulan en la novela. Y sin querer desvelar nada, el fin ...more
mai ahmd
Dec 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: روايات
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
Alena
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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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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