Memoirs of a Geisha

Arthur Golden, Author Alfred A Knopf Inc $28.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-375-40011-7
The life of a famous Kyoto geisha--from her painful apprenticeship in the early 1930s through the years of her prime and her later career in Manhattan--is rendered with stunning clarity in this fully imagined first novel. Golden effortlessly spins the tale as the dictated autobiography of quick-witted Chiyo Sakamoto, the daughter of a poor fisherman, who attains the pinnacle of geisha success. In the process, Golden evokes the spectrum of traditional Japanese society. Sold as a child by her financially desperate father, Chiyo is placed in a house for geisha as the personal maid to Hatsumomo, one of Kyoto's most sought-after geisha. There she is trained in the arts of dance, singing and the tea ceremony. Hatsumomo, however, threatened by Chiyo's beauty, treats her with unrestrained cruelty. Chiyo's position is one of indentured servitude: she may not leave until she has repaid all of her living expenses and even her original purchase cost. After many vicissitudes, Chiyo is transformed into a celebrated geisha called Sayuri; many men offer to be her danna (high-paying boyfriend), an honor that--defying Western expectations--does not include sex unless the geisha chooses so. Despite legions of admirers however, Chiyo/Sayuri secretly pines for an unattainable man. Golden splendidly renders the superficiality of geisha culture: the word geisha translates to ""artist"" or ""artisan,"" and the women spend hours painting on porcelain make-up, caring for their beautifully hued silk kimonos and honing clever conversational skills. Counter to everything geisha are taught, Chiyo learns that her own feelings do matter, and honoring them results in a well-earned, intelligent and satisfyingly happy ending. Foreign rights sold in 11 countries; Random House audio; author tour. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/22/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 434 pages - 978-0-09-949702-8
Compact Disc - 978-0-375-40833-5
Other - 978-0-676-53193-0
Paperback - 699 pages - 978-0-7838-0146-9
Paperback - 105 pages - 978-1-4058-8267-5
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-679-78158-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-375-40537-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 503 pages
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-2421-9
Paperback - 758 pages - 978-0-7393-2687-9
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-8399-1
Prebound-Glued - 434 pages - 978-0-606-22204-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-679-46075-6
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-1-4159-5058-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 496 pages - 978-0-7704-2888-4
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-375-40678-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7540-0365-6
Hardcover - 699 pages - 978-0-7838-0145-2
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-676-97175-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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