Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden: This is the sort of book that draws you in from the very first page. As the title suggests, it is the story of Sayuri, sold by her parents at a young age to an okiya, a geisha house. Not only is it an engrossing story of suffering, longing, and triumph, it’s also a fascinating look at the life of a geisha during the 1930s and 40s. The description of the places and characters was so vivid I could see it all. The whole concept behind a geisha – that having a mistress was not only acceptable but even expected of wealthy men – was somewhat jarring to my Western sensibilities, but the tale was told with such compassion and earnestness that it was easy to get drawn in to the different culture, and almost forget that it was written by a middle-aged American man and not an aged Japanese woman. There were things here and there that struck me as unrealistic – Nobu’s interest in geisha despite finding them irritating, the pure malice of several characters – but by and large it was a great read.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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