Memoirs of a Geisha Memoirs of a Geisha discussion


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message 1: by MM (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:00AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

MM I read this book a few years ago and found it absolutely fascinating. The simple fact that a western man could so fully immerse himself into this Japanese culture of women is unbelievable. The film was not the best adaptation but the story retained its interest for me (and the Williams score was amazing as well as the acting); I just don't see how anyone could label this book boring.


message 2: by Tiffany (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:00AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tiffany I really enjoyed reading it. Was a great look into the life of the geisha world. Movie didnt do it justice.


message 3: by Melissa (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:00AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melissa I liked it as well. The amount of detail into this secret world was amazing. I agree too, the movie didn't do it justice.


message 4: by Trina (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trina Martinez The book was definitely better than the movie. I enjoyed it.


message 5: by K (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:11AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

K Like many, I thought the glimpse into the geisha world was fascinating. I remember finding the Hatsumomo competition subplot kind of silly and contrived, though.


message 6: by kate (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

kate I did enjoy this book - a glimpse into a foreign world and culture, unrequited love until the end - the war and reality impeding her girlhood infatuation. I found it beautifully written and, dare I use the word poignant?


message 7: by Rocket (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rocket Wow, I would never have described Memoirs as boring - I remember my dad brought it home when it was new, I was in high school, and I picked it up to just see how it started and couldn't put it down until I was done. Loved it, loved it, loved it! Of course, this is coming from a girl who studied abroad in Japan twice, so I've got a pre-existing interest in the subject matter.

Memoirs romanticized Japan to some degree, but then anything that I've personally read by Westerners about Japan is at least a little bit romanticized. But I loved the gritty details of everyday life in that time period, and the beautiful rituals and politics. I think Memoirs is one of the better novels set in Japan that I've read.

I was interested to read the book "The Tale Of Murasaki", about the author of The Tale Of Genji, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. I wonder how that would compare to Memoirs of a Geisha? Anyone read it?


message 8: by Cyndi (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cyndi I very much enjoyed this book. It was beautifully written. It is one of the few books that I have read more than once.


message 9: by Anggie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:24AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anggie This book is anything but boring. Beautiful, excellent. The first time I read it, I couldn't put it down, and when it's finished, I had the urge to read it all over again. I've read it a few times, still love it, and I believe I will read it again in the future.


message 10: by Michele (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Michele Loved this book! Fascinating.


message 11: by Naga (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:28AM) (new)

Naga I havn`t red the book would you like give me


message 12: by Jan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:40PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jan Byar This has been on my all time fav list. Sorry you didn't like it. Think I may read for the 2nd time soon.


Christy this has to be my favorite book... i read it fisrt when i was about 15 and read it straight through in 2 days...then i picked it up again a few days shy of my 17 birthday and it still has all its value... i bought the movie...but it didnt do it justice... i dont know how this book could be labled boring by anyone... it is absolutly amazing...


Cheryl S. I love reading about different cultures so this is a winner for me.


Rochelle Loved the book and the movie...I like books where you learn about other life styles and learning from this that I would never want to live a life of a Geisha..It is a terrific read!


Maureen I too enjoyed the book and found it a very interesting. I never thought it to be non-fiction; after all it was written by a man. As a child one of my very favorite movies was Sayonara which depicts post world war II Japan with American Occupation. The women depicted are not Geisha, but members of Japanese Ballet. They were brought up in a convent like environment and contact with men was strictly forbidden.

As to the movie - the movie was "kinder" to the "mother" You did not see all the beatings and cruelty depicted in the book.

For a true biography of a Geisha, you should read American Geisha, a story of an American who was accepted into and became a Geisha.



Karen I could not put it down. What a story. Worth reading twice.


Karen Luna Why would they be upset about what you read?


Eeeeeep yeah, I was curious about that too...


Eeeeeep why would they be upset?


message 21: by Ali (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ali i really enjoyed this book but was very dissatisfied with the movie adaptation. it's been quite a few years since i last read it, but i found it extremely captivating.


Rafael Cañete Memoirs of a Geisha is way, way more entertaining than The Tale of Murasaki. Very dragging flow of events. After all, The Tale of Murasaki is a work of so-called "literary archaeology," so Liza Dalby, the author, is more concerned on historical accuracy than entertainment value. But read it still, just to know how the life of the writer of the first novel in the world could have been.


message 23: by Rafael (last edited Oct 03, 2008 02:58PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rafael Cañete To say " I enjoyed it" is not enough to express the feeling I have whenever I read this book. Arthur Golden's way of describing things is stimulating; I could almost feel I am beside Sayuri sitting in front of her vanity mirror and getting ready for a string of ochaya (tea parties)tonight.

I am enamored so much with this novel that I was saddened to read criticisms about the novel being orientalist.

I found the movie too glossy and choreographed. I would have preferred a subtler approach. Nevertheless, Zhang Ziyi and Gong Li gave sterling performances, both able to convey fathomless emotions without being too hysterical.


Sophia Saved By Grace wrote: " Oh well I guess we have differing opinions. I didn't care for it because it just isn't my type of book, and if my parents found I read it they would be upset."

My parents would be too.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

I enjoyed this book very much. I love looking at different cultures, I did not find it boring at all.


Veronica I enjoyed this book. I plan on reading it again.


message 27: by Judy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Judy Interesting book. Interesting culture. Interesting topic. A good read.


Jeana I really liked the book and also found the movie to be not quite as good; however, the movie did add a nice visual (and beautiful music) to a beautiful story to which I already knew the plotline, so I felt like I could still enjoy the movie.


Geoffrey I would put it down as a contemporary classic. I hope the critics decide in its favor.


Janean I found it a fascinating read.


Bernard Chameleon wrote: "Saved By Grace wrote: " Oh well I guess we have differing opinions. I didn't care for it because it just isn't my type of book, and if my parents found I read it they would be upset."

My parents w..."


What do you mean?


message 32: by Lily (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lily Rafael wrote: "I am enamored so much with this novel that I was saddened to read criticisms about the novel being orientalist."

Some have said the book is not a particularly accurate portrayal of the world of the geisha. I don't know enough to judge, but I have discovered another book that includes the topic, by the Japanese Nobel laureate, Yasunari Kawabata, which I have not read. Has anyone here?

Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata, Edward G. Seidensticker (Translator)

"To this haunting novel of wasted love, Kawabata brings the brushstroke suggestiveness and astonishing grasp of motive that earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature. As he chronicles the affair between a wealthy dilettante and the mountain geisha who gives herself to him without illusions or regrets, one of Japan's greatest writers creates a work that is dense in implication and exalting in its sadness."

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/li...

The above site lists works available in English as well as includes links back to his biography and lectures associated with receiving the Nobel prize in 1968.

I have noticed that Memoirs of a Geisha often appears among high school summer reads displays in local bookstores.


message 33: by Cece (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cece i saw the movie and loved it! :-)
how's the book in comparison though?
Anyone care to comment?


message 34: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Cece wrote: "i saw the movie and loved it! :-)
how's the book in comparison though?
Anyone care to comment?"


I really loved the book. The movie sucked! Like any other movie trying to copy a book there was a lot of stuff left out.


Maureen While it has been years since I both read the book and saw the movie I found the movie script really toned down the abusive situation that our young Geisha in training suffered at the hands of the Mother of the house. What I came away with is that sex was a very minor part of a Geisha's life - serving men and being the perfect woman was the most important aspect of their training. The pains they went thru between the hair and the makeup which contained lead was very vividly described. There was a book and movie made in 1986 about an American Geisha which too was an interesting study on their life.


Susie I thought it was depressing!


Maureen That it is, but think of a women's lot in life in general. Until the last century women had to marry well to survive. Could not vote, could be beaten or raped by her husband. Education, with the exception of social skills, was wasted on a woman. After all she is only going to get married and have children so why would she need a degree for that. A woman was property of her husband. Even in the United States women could not own property until the mid to late 18th century and that was state by state.


message 38: by Lily (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lily Geisha: A Life by Mineko Iwasaki appears to be a personal memoir by the woman on whom Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha is based.

Consider also: Autobiography of a Geisha by Sayo Masuda, G.G. Rowley (Translator)

Or Geisha: 25th Anniversary Edition by Liza Dalby


Em*bedded-in-books* Didn't like it much. The lives of Geishas and Meikos are miserable


Amanda I rarely read anything except sci fi or fantasy. I was mesmerized. I even purchased the film. I rate it with the Joy Luck Club and Confessions of a Confederate Widow. Windows in to the souls of women, all excellent reads.


Silly no, but I heard it was good.


message 42: by Irwin (new) - added it

Irwin I read the book but never saw the movie. I remember that it was very interesting book.


Marina Fontaine It was a very good book, great insight into the culture we know almost nothing about. My biggest problem was that even though the character was sympathetic, she didn't have any moral values to guide her. She just did what was expedient and ended up doing some pretty low stuff to get what she wanted. (I'm talking later on in the book, when she started to have a choice, not in the beginning when she was just a victim).


Shaunna McLaren Michelle wrote: "I read this book a few years ago and found it absolutely fascinating. The simple fact that a western man could so fully immerse himself into this Japanese culture of women is unbelievable. The film..."

I completely agree with this. I was completely absorbed the whole way through, and I often forgot the author was male.


Natalia It was amazing,absolutely one of my all-time favorites!:D


Mason I have an unhealthy obsession with this book and this movie. I have only read the book once but i have honestly seen the movie roughly 30 times and I can quote every line. The ending still makes me cry every time. One of the best stories I know hands down.


message 47: by Jane (last edited Aug 23, 2011 09:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jane I read this book several years ago now and absolutely loved it. I'd say its still in my top ten reads. I, too, kept forgetting the author was male.


Courtney i read this book after it was made into a movie but before seeing the movie. i actually aquired this book at a local goodwill for 1 dollar. i had heard great things about the movie and i tend to prefer books to movies made from books so i thought i could spend a dollar for it. i was pinching myself for not reading it earlier. i think the book is very beautiful and is now one of my favorites alongside gone with the wind. i recommend it to everyone who asks for a book recommendation. oh..i also watched the movie after finishing the book and i loved that as well.


Geoffrey I tend to disagree with most people who have commented on the movie. I do believe the book to be a minor contemporary masterpiece, but I would not disparage the movie. It did bring the story to life on the silver screen for me.


Reena i reac it!! i read it!! i read it!!!
m a proud reader of dis book...absltly delightful...
cn nvr forget d story...nvr wanna...:)


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