Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Cover via Goodreads.

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.



Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

9 responses to “Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

  1. teehee. Did that friend tell you who told her to buy it? 😉

  2. RabidBunnyD

    Oh I’ve read this book, and I have to say I loved it. My only regret is that college has left me very little time to reread it lately. I’ve been busting my ass on this “Zine” which is, essentially, a magazine containing my work for my summer class. It’s 20 pages, and I’ve had 2 weeks to put it together. Anyway, I did love the writing in this book, and completely forgot about the author entirely until I reached the end. I happen to love books that I can get lost in.

    On that note, I would be interested in what you think of Alice Hoffman’s “Practical Magic.” Yes I know there’s a movie, but I found the mystery of the book much more enjoyable.

    Anywho, it’s been a while since I’ve commented on your blog, or written in my own. I’ve just been so busy; 8 AM art classes are a mistake. Hopefully I will be back into the swing of things next week when my art class isn’t until 1 in the afternoon :D.

    Have an awesome day

    And yes, I know, this comment isn’t as involved as my usual ones. Still have three articles to write by tomorrow morning

    • Wow, do you have at least some other people to assist you in putting together the magazine? I’ve been busy too, so I understand when you say that you don’t have enough time to reread. I don’t dislike keeping myself occupied this summer, but it would be nice to have some more time in the day to enjoy all the novels I have on my shelf.

      Thank you for the recommendation, I just added it to my to-read list on Goodreads. I’ll write a review for it after I’m done reading it. 🙂

      Oh yeah, how is your art class going? I remember you wrote a post about it and I asked for updates – if you have time, please write a post about it or message me if you want!

      I hope all is going well for you, and you should know I heavily appreciate all of your comments. This one has been a blast to respond to, thanks so much for continuing to read my blog and taking the time to comment at all! 😀

      • RabidBunnyD

        Nah, the teachers did the printing, and corrected my layout flaws, but I had to put everything together myself. But it was successful, I think. I’ve got a long weekend before i start my new class, which is nice.

        Also, the art class was frustrating. B’s and C’s for grades, which I’ve never gotten in art before. It was very upsetting. Just finished it today.

        I’ll probably be writing a post tonight, mostly about my macfail pro, but it’ll include stuff about school. 🙂

  3. Do you feel like you learned from the art class? I think that’s more important than the grade you received, but if I obtained a B or a C with all the hard work you put in I would be upset too. 😦

    For some reason I can’t click on the link to your blog… did you temporarily disable it? o_o

    • Nah, I haven’t disabled it at all. And yes, I supposed I did learn a bit, but not as much as I would have liked. It was far too rushed to really retain a lot of information. I’m hoping this semester will go better.

      • I’m sorry, but at least things are looking up a little with your boyfriend coming back and the fact that you’ll be able to return to something you have a penchant for (I read your new post). 🙂

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