This is a seductive and stunningly evocative epic on an intimate scale, which tells the extraordinary story of a geisha girl. Summoning up more than twenty years of Japan's most dramatic history, it uncovers a hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation. From a small fishing village in 1929, the tale moves to the ...
This is a seductive and stunningly evocative epic on an intimate scale, which tells the extraordinary story of a geisha girl. Summoning up more than twenty years of Japan's most dramatic history, it uncovers a hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation. From a small fishing village in 1929, the tale moves to the glamorous and decadent heart of Kyoto in the 1930s, where a young peasant girl is sold into a kind of slavery, as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. Transformed by one man's act of kindness, she fights her way through hardship and jealousies to become successful as Sayuri the geisha girl. Then war breaks out and she has to escape and transform herself once again. She tells her own story many years later from the Waldorf Astoria in New York; and what is so utterly extraordinary about this novel is the way it exquisitely and unforgettably evokes another culture, a different time and the details of an extraordinary way of life. It conjures up the cruelty and the heartbreak, the perfection and the ugliness of life behind the rice-paper screens, where young girls learn the arts of the geisha - dancing and singing, how to wind the kimono and those elaborate hairstyles, how to walk and pour tea, and how to beguile the most powerful men.
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Loved it! Story line was quite different from the movie. It gives MUCH more details on the daily life of the Japanese people living at that time. As a whole; book much better than movie.
Jan 21, 2010
I was SO impressed by Goldens ability to capture a female perspective. Not only did I think the book was beautiful, it was powerful as well. I loved this story. I also thought that the movie was an astonishing interpretation of the book. Very unusual. Reading this book has since inspired me to learn about Japanese culture. [close]
Mar 23, 2009
VERY INTERESTING READ
IT READ THE SAME AS, IT DID THE FIRST TIME!! I WOULD READ IT AGAIN!!!
Jul 29, 2008
I was drawn into the story because the author described the lifestyle of a geisha very well. So this read is a good history lesson along with being a intriguing story about a young girl and her fight into womanhood.
Nov 6, 2007
And the movie left me feeling the same way...
This book was interesting, but I didn?t fall in love with it. The setting is beautiful, and I could feel the autohor's love for that time and place, but I have no feelings for the heroine. Mostly she gets acted upon instead of acting, which is (perhaps) the point but it?s not moving. I was very disappointed with the ending. I wanted to love it, but try as I might I just couldn?t. Overall it?s just ok.
Publishers Weekly, 1997-07-28 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.)
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