Fabian's Reviews > Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
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really liked it

Well, I finally got around to this one. & I think I understand its fan base and its subsequent literary worth; it was the "Gone Girl" of the 90's. (Only in popularity.) This time, the fairy tale (with "Girl" it seems as if we're more comfortable with the cautionary tale in the 10's) 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 youth and beauty.

The plot is orchestrated in that well-intentioned Great Novel tradition. A Great Expectations-meets-Great Gatsby novelty item that's as pure as winter's snow, that shimmers & attracts the senses like a ruby from some volcano deep in the Pacific. Metaphors and similes are very effectively used here, & their dual purpose is clear: it tells the life story in a very non-nebulous manner, in clear, concise, not-to-be-misconstrued mode; and the words seem authentic enough to evoke an actual geisha-- it is her telling you her memoirs, sitting there with you, drinking tea.

Also, Hastumomo, in the role of ugly stepsister, is an adversary from hell. Grrrreat character! Too bad she leaves the narrative at too-crucial a juncture (the anticlimax meaning, then, the immediate displacement of anything that did not fit into the societal standards from the board... Lame!). She is a worthy nemesis to our heroine--as voracious for fresh meat as a Great White. The feud between them two is the centerpiece of this Fanny Hill-like tale, this enormously feminist (?) text. For in Gion, Japan, the geisha are treated like a lot of women have been, like objects, pawns, or even disembodied ideas.
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Reading Progress

December 2, 2014 – Started Reading
December 2, 2014 – Shelved
December 5, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 1: by Terri (new)

Terri I learned so much about the culture-it was fascinating.


message 2: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Wojtas Since you liked this one you should read Geisha: A Life by Mineko Iwasaki. Memoirs of a Geisha is actually loosely based on her life story. Her book isn't as exciting but it's very interesting to read.


Fabian Susan wrote: "Since you liked this one you should read Geisha: A Life by Mineko Iwasaki. Memoirs of a Geisha is actually loosely based on her life story. Her book isn't as exciting but it's very interesting to r..."
Thank you! Ill look for the title. F.


Selwa One of my favorites! I'd forgotten the ending before I read it the second time and was so happy all over again lol


Eliza I love your description of women being treated as 'disembodied ideas' - a clever turn of phrase! Could you elaborate? Great review by the way.


message 6: by Don (new) - rated it 4 stars

Don I liked it better than I thought I would.


Mariah Roze Our Diversity in All Forms Book Club is reading this for February. We’d love to have you join the discussion on it. :) https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 8: by Kim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kim Kaso I liked it way better than Gone Girl, which I will never re-read. It was all “gimmick”, no substance, and the characters were obnoxiously unsympathetic. This book has depth, is beautifully written, and I care about Chiyo/Sayuri and her general, her sister, their travails.


Bibliovoracious I'm glad other people get around to the "blockbusters" years late too. I think I got to this one in the right decade though.


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