Archive for the ‘Arthur Golden’ Category
Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden
published in 1997
where I got it: it was in the free box at work
why I read it: I loved the movie, have been meaning to read it for a while.
first things first: Geisha are not prostitutes. they are not home-wreckers, they are not call-girls, they are not exotic dancers. If you’re having even the slightest difficulty grokking that, Memoirs of a Geisha probably isn’t the book for you. Or perhaps it’s the perfect book for you.
With her parents no longer able to support her, Chiyo and her older sister are sold to a broker of sorts, who arranges for the girls to be taken to Kyoto. Perhaps they will be maids their entire life, perhaps geisha, perhaps something else. Chiyo finds herself at nine years old as a maid in an Okiya alongside another girl named Pumpkin. Coming face to face with Hatsumomo, the Geisha of the okiya, Chiyo learns fast that her life will take one of two paths: become a geisha, or be a maid for the rest of her life.
After a chance encounter with a gentleman, Chiyo experiences her first crush and decides no matter what, she will become a geisha in hopes of meeting this man again. Taken on as an apprentice by the famous geisha Mameha, who happens to be Hatsumomo’s chief rival, Chiyo is about to discover becoming a geisha is harder than she ever imagined. Hours of education on music, dance, and the art of conversation, and still, no garauntee of anything unless she gains a wealthy and influential danna, or patron. Meanwhile, her crush has turned into an obsession of sorts. But Chiyo is young and naive, and doesn’t realize that everyone in her life, from Mameha to the Mother of her okiya has their own plans for her. Read the rest of this entry »