Rating: 4/5 stars.
People were skeptical when Kathryn Stockett wrote in the voice of two black women in The Help. Arthur Golden took it to another level when he, a white, middle-aged man, narrated as an orphaned Japanese girl on her way to becoming a geisha.
It worked, though. Even without knowledge of Golden’s extensive experience studying Japanese culture and history, the reader is led to believe that the protagonist is telling the story herself. Memoirs of a Geisha transported me to a different era, where superficiality and beauty were more important traits for a women than practicality and intelligence.
I enjoyed the writing style Golden utilized with this book, especially the analogies. Here are two I marked:
“For it’s one thing to find your secrets suddenly exposed, but when your own foolishness has exposed them… well, if I was prepared to curse anyone, it was myself… A shopkeeper who leaves his window open can hardly be angry at the rainstorm for ruining his wares.”
“Her skin was waxy-looking, and her features puffy. Or perhaps I was only seeing her that way. A tree may look as beautiful as ever; but when you notice the insects infecting it, and the tips of the branches that are brown from disease, even the trunk seems to lose some of its magnificence.”
A great read – I am so thankful for my friend who bought me this as a birthday present. Recommended to anyone remotely interested in Japanese culture or the life of a geisha.