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Memoirs of a Geisha - A review

February 28, 2008
Posted by mmarvs in : Books
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memoirs-of-a-geisha.jpgby Jesús Cases

Memoirs of a Geisha was written by Arthur Golden, and is based on what an ancient Japanese geisha moved to the USA had lived. There’s a film about it too, but I thought I shouldn’t see it.

For western people geishas are some kind of myth. We have stereotypical opinions about them, plenty of them misconceptions. Geishas have to learn dances, have to learn how to play Japanese musical instruments, how to serve tea, how to wear kimonos and how to entertain men. This novel can help us to understand that mysterious world.

In a little poor village on the Japanese coast, in the early 20’s live a miserable family whose daughters are sold and separated: Satsu is destined to become a prostitute, Chiyo, our heroine, because of her amazingly lovely enthralling grey eyes, is lead up to an okiya, a house for the future geisha.

What a change of life! The girl doesn’t understand anything. In addition Hatsumomo, the most famous geisha in the okiya, is constantly mistreating her, because she foresees that she will become a charming lovely woman, a hard competence for her in the future. Chiyo tries some times to run away of the okiya, but Hatsumomo stops her.

A man is going to change Chiyo’s life. He’s called The Chairman. Chiyo will be unaware of it, but he will make her life change by introducing her to Mameha, the most beautiful and influential geisha. Mameha will try to get Hatsumomo out of the okiya and makes her best to turn Chiyo into the most reknown geisha. Chiyo will never be Chiyo, but Sayuri, her alias as a geisha.

In that novel, curiosity didn’t kill the cat, curiosity for a foreign culture, curiosity for a mysterious figure, as a geisha, curiosity for how human beings have the same desires, meanness, feelings, envies, no matter where you are. I got involved in the story because of the pure look of Chiyo. I felt sorry for her, I learned to know her soul while reading, I walked with her the way to become a geisha, a woman. Memoirs of a Geisha discovers you a new world, a vivid style of writing.

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1. Adriana Carriles (5ºH) - 28 February 2008 

I would like you to recommend you the book “Life of a Geisha: the true story”. The real Geisha (Mineko Iwasaki) that inspired the fictional novel written by Arthur Golden got really angry with the author, because he changed completely the story of her life and what a geisha means. If you wish to learn more about Geishas and their fascinating history and customs, there are nowadays a good number of biographicals books about them but, I must say, some of them are really difficult to find.

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