Book Review : Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Shubhli is an avid reader and loves to recommend books to friends and family.Besides her love for books she also enjoys music and cooking.She believes in living life to the fullest and standing up for what she knows is right.A homemaker based in delhi , Reiki channel whose life begins and ends on the note ” divine will be done

“Our lives are like streams that fall over rocky cliffs before they can reach the ocean” and “then all the struggle and hardship suffered bleeds into a wash , just like watery ink on paper ‘’– pearls of wisdom by SAYURI one of the most renowned Geisha of her time.

‘’ Memoirs of a Geisha ‘’ by Arthur Golden is an enchanting love story which holds in its bosom a kaleidoscope of emotions that hold us in a rapturous attention right till the end . Its a bestseller which allows us to casually stroll down a pathway from 1929 to the post war years of Japan’s dramatic history , as we take a peek into the half explored , erotic world of geishas .

A gripping tale of a 6 year old Chiyo , a small town girl , sold off by her hapless father to pay for his sick wife’s medication . A bewitching saga of how an awkward , confused , shy girl with grey eyes , born in the year of monkey , with too much water in her bones grew up to be the famous Gesiha , Sayuri , who had the skills to bring men down to her feet with a mere look . An orphan who lost her heart at the tender age of 13 to ‘ Chairman ‘ , a man four times her age. It was the chairmans personality ,his humble attitude , kind nature , love filled words that prompted Chiyo to wish to gain his attention , to make him laugh , to see him smile and that made her realize that she can achieve that only by being a geisha herself . It is true chiyo wished to be a geisha but how help arrived and she managed to become the most successful one was not just work play of fate . What changed chiyo’s course of life is a well guarded secret which is unraveled by the author right at the end of the book , reducing the readers to tears .

By introducing geishas to us , Golden opens a door through which we step and loose ourselves into this erotic world of tea houses , exotic kimonos , geisha makeup , fascinating rituals , life in okiya , dance and singing lessons . A world where every little gesture has been perfected as an art , from laughing , walking , sitting , to even holding a tea cup . A world where a day begins in the evening , with fun filled geisha laughter echoing in the streets and tea houses .

Contrary to popular belief a geisha is not a prostitute but an entertainer and a performer, who surrender their body only to their ‘’ Danna ‘’ , a term wife uses for her husband . But then a geisha never marries and those who do no longer continue as geishas. Finding a substantial Danna for herself who would cover all her living expences , provide her with spending money , buy her gifts and kimonos is very crucial and vital , for a geisha , without a Danna she can never gain her independence . But then it was not an easy task, A Geisha was expected to be beautiful , good at playing various instruments like flute n shamisen, be a graceful dancer , well versed in songs, poetry and ballads , witty , well groomed , must know how to flirt without appearing vulgar and yet appear approachable and at the same time be wary of her competitors . Golden in the book has created a network of characters who are entwined and interlinked with the sole aim of weaving the fabric of story in and around the central character of sayuri . Those like Mameha and Chairman came into her life to lead her to greater heights . But those like Hatsumomo and pumkin were created to try and ruin her , degrade her and make her life miserable. Others like Nobu are there to add twist and turns to the story to make it more dramatic . As you get accustomed to the luxuries and loose yourself in the flamboyant geisha world , there comes the war blowing everything away , darkness settles in as goverment orders closing of the geisha district .

Did Sayuri survive the war , did she meet the love of her life or did she go back to being a geisha ?????? ……..Well buy yourself a copy and find out. A word of advice to all those who would want to watch the motion picture based on the book , do keep a box of tissue handy for Sayuris life story is sure to touch sensitive hearts .

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