Memoirs of a Geisha is one of my all-time favourite reads and I remain impressed that it was Arthur Golden's debut book.
I first read this novel about a decade ago and like many other readers, I kept flipping back the pages, checking that a man wrote this wonderful narrative. In addition to that anomaly, Arthur Golden broke the golden rule of successful writing - write about what you know. This is a woman's story convincingly penned by a white American, middle-class man from a completely different culture. The only inspiration he had came from a degree in Japanese history, related research and interviews with ex geisha, Mineko Iwasaki. Still, to write with such authenticity, in a foreign voice and produce such an exquisitely written, engaging, sympathetic and intimate book is amazing. The detailed story is also rich in imagery and is a snapshot into a culture and time that has all but disappeared.
Memoirs of a Geisha follows a basic romantic structure - a heroine (Sayuri), antagonists, protagonists, poor-girl-rises-to-success, drama, conflict, naiive love, sex, hardship, heartbreak, resolution, retribution and little bit of the fairytale touch. The time period covered is around 40 years and touches on politics, social structure and cultural behaviours/customs/beliefs (even Japan's humiliating and devastating loss in WW2, the emperor's shame, the breakdown of a nation's socioeconomic framework and ultimately, America's police enforcement are all referenced).
I highly recommend this book to readers who love an epic romance as told by a very talented story-teller.
- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 2 hours and 59 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Abridged
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited
- Audible.com.au Release Date: 22 February 2006
- Language: English, English
- ASIN: B00NPBOEXU
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,853 in Audible (See Top 100 in Audible)