Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men’s solicitude and the money that goes with it.
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction—at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful—and completely unforgettable.
This book was amazing. It is easy to see why it is considered a classic. It had a wonderful story-telling feel that seemed to come to life. I’m sure if I had listened to the audiobook it would have felt like Sayuri was sitting beside me telling me her story.
The writing was lyrical and beautiful. The ability of a debut American male writer to transport the reader to 1960s Japanese geisha life was incredible.
Reading this book was an experience I will not soon forget. This isn’t a very in depth review, but I feel like I can’t talk about the book without gushing, and would strongly recommend everyone read this book.
Challenges read for:
2012 TBR list pick