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Memoirs of Geisha By Arthur Golden (Book Review)

Title: Memoirs of Geisha
Author: Arthur Golden
Rating: 5/5

I began to feel that all the people I’d ever know who had died and left me had not in fact gone away, but they continued to live inside of me.- Sayuri, from Memoirs of Geisha.

A novel rich in Japanese culture.

Sakamoto, Chiyo and Nitta, Sayuri are the two names used by the main character. Her life story was full of ups and downs and as you were reading it, you’d be feeling that same grief and success as she did. She first came in Kyoto as a very little girl and her then name, was Chiyo.

She was around 9 years old when an old man, Mr Tanaka sold her to slavery. Chiyo has great regard to him, until she realized that he had sold her. Her life was miserable not only because she was a maid, but also because of one geisha, Hatsumomo, an ill manered geisha who bullies her all the time.

For a long time, this geisha made her suffer and made her thought, her life will remain like that forever.

Until one day while she was doing some errand, she met this old man, the owner of one of the blossoming appliance business in Japan. She calls her “Chairman”. This meeting made an impact in her life and from then on, she dreamed of becoming a geisha. She then met, Mameha, one of the top Geisha in Gion. Mameha made Sayuri (her new geisha name) one of the most popular geisha in town. She opened a lot of doors and opportunities for her and had helped her create history in Japan as well.

An inspiring story indeed! A novel that’s based from a true story of a real geisha.

Though this was a highly criticized story, there is one life lesson we can learn from it. One should not give up their dreams and always have a positive outlook in life! No matter how cruel your life is, soon, you will become what you’ve always dreamed of. Never throw your hopes and aspirations for soon, you can kiss them as if it has been there all along.

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This is one of the most beautifully written novels of the past 20 or more years, and definitely one of my personal favorites. Arthur Golden, a student of Japanese art and language, paints a remarkably true-sounding account of one woman’s training and practice as a geisha. There’s not a false note in the writing: The characters, dialogue, and emotional content all ring true. Aside from some slightly plodding descriptions of the protagonist’s introduction to the geisha district of Gion, the pacing is excellent.

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