This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Monday, October 8, 2007

Fall Into Reading Review

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Fall Into Reading 2007I have yet to read a bad review of this book. When I named it on my Fall Into Reading list I heard many a good word about it. Let me say, I was not disappointed. This book lived up to everything I heard about it and more.

Golden’s writing swept me away in the first paragraph. It transported me to the pre-WWII era in Gion where the geisha and all girls who were bought and sold and aspired to be geisha struggled in an intricate society. They hung in a delicate balance of competition and dependency on one another.

memoirs of a geisha by arthur golden reviewMemoirs is the story of one geisha. It begins with her as a young girl, Chiyo, in a fishing village and follows her life as she is sold to a okiya and as she becomes Sayuri the name she is given when she becomes a geisha apprentice.

I will admit that, like many women Sayuri meets, I originally presumed geisha to be little more than high dollar pro$titues (forgive me—just trying to ward off the search spiders). What I found to be true was that their society, their company was sought out for much more than I understood. And I still don’t think I get it all.

Fascinating to me was the fact that apprentice geisha wore more complicated kimono and make-up than established geisha. The layers that went into preparing to leave the okiya to go to the teahouses for an evening was unbelievable. The elaborate education and training that geisha maintained and the social rules for how a geisha visited different teahouses and parties was mapped out like strategy.

The culture that was pre-war Japan was complicated and dominated by men. The cultural difference between the women of today and the Japanese women is separated by a huge chasm. Certainly I was bothered by the commonality of geisha in the upper societies. The presumption of society that it was a right of wealthy men to seek their entertainment. But at the same time I was fascinated by the complexity of geisha and how a girl rose to be one and I was mesmerized by the story Mr. Golden wove.

Memoirs of a Geisha goes on my short list of all time favorites and I am truly tickled to be able to say I have a spare copy to give away. If you have not read it and would like to, leave me a comment in my giveaway post found HERE.

The only bad thing I can say about Memoirs of a Geisha is that I wish I had read it sooner.


Heidi @ GGIP said...

Great review. It was a good book.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great review! I will be adding this to my TBR list!

Renee's Ramblings said...

I have heard this is a wonderful book. I have added it to my "must read" list.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and the prayers for my husband. Thank You!

Latharia said...

I also thoroughly enjoyed reading this book -- a well-written & elegant glimpse into a different culture & era, while still creating plausible & fascinating characters!

Poiema said...

This sounds so interesting. It is a culture I know little about. That's why I love to read reviews from other book lovers~~~I always get stimulated to look at something beyond my own sphere of immediate interests. Thanks!

kim said...

What a great review Julie! I have this book in my tbr pile for about 2 years now---your review makes me want to pick it up and read it right now. Have you read Women of the Silk by Gail Tsukiyama? I read it several years ago and really liked it. I think you might also. :)


Coach J said...

sounds intriguing. I entered for your gently-used copy. :)