Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tell a Tale: Memoirs of a Geisha

Quite some time ago I mentioned that I have interests other than just crafting and sewing.  It may not seem like it but I do have a few other things going on in my life.  I just haven't been very good about sharing them.

So, I'm pushing myself out of my comfort zone and sharing one of my other passions...reading!

Every Thursday I'll share a summary and short review of a book I've read.  You can use this to find new books to enjoy or if you've already read it, you can add your two cents below in the comment section and share your thoughts.  Maybe we'll agree, maybe we won't.  That's OK.

I will warn you that my favourite genre is historical fiction so there will be a lot of books along that line.  But I do mix it up from time to time and read from other genres.

I thought we'd start with one of my all time favourite books...

“He was like a song I'd heard once in fragments
 but had been singing in my mind ever since.”
Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

Summary (from
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction - at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful - and completely unforgettable.

This is a bit of a controversial book to start with actually.  Hands down, it's one of my top three favourite books to read. In fact, I've read it more than once, which is rare for me to do. Even without the movie, I could envision every scene so easily, it was like being there. This book has everything...triumph and tribulation, love, war, loss of innocence.

I remember when it was first released, most people assumed that this was based on a true story.  However, it is important to remember that it is fiction and that the author is an American male, so there are several inaccuracies.

I love it though for it's lyricism, for the beautiful and tragic love story, and for the snippet of a different life and time than most of us can ever imagine.  The life of a Geisha is, and was, about art.  The art of the Tea Ceremony, the art of dance and song, the art of beauty, and the art of conversation...most of which is not revered or respected these days.

While living in Japan, I made a special trek to Kyoto.  I went as a tourist to see all kinds of things, but secretly I was on the hunt for the elusive modern day Geisha (not the hussy hostesses at the bars, the real thing!).  I was lucky enough to spy down an alleyway two beautiful women in full 'uniform' getting ready to head out for an evening in Gion.  And I was even more lucky that I was granted permission to snap a photo.  This was the height of my Memoirs of a Geisha experience!
Sorry, it's a bit blurry,
this was from the days before digital cameras~
If you're looking for a book that will take you to another time and place, that's full of romance, intrigue, and a beautiful coming of age story, then I highly recommend this book for you.

Have you read it already?  Let us know your thoughts below.

You can find me on Goodreads as Etcetorize if you want to trade book lists, recommendations, and see my other reviews before they come here.


Little City Farm said...

You have me convinced to give this a try. I love that you got to meet and photograph those two lovely geishas in Kyoto. What an amazing life experience.

Theresa said...

This book is sitting on my bookshelf. I haven't read it yet, but am now looking forward to it. Thanks for the review!

Rebecca @ My Girlish Whims said...

I LOVED this book too! Such an interesting story

Danee said...

Hilarious…I read this book ages ago- I think when it came out- and LOVED it. Just yesterday my kids were talking about Geisha for some reason and I mentioned that I had read this book. How odd- I hadn't thought about it or spoke about in 10 or more years and now this post right after I speak about it.

Art and Sand said...

I loved Memoirs of a Geisha. If you like historical fiction, have you read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet? My husband and I both loved the story. Steve loved the book so much he e-mailed the author to tell him and the author responded.

Unknown said...

After reading you review on Good Reads and now here I am going to have this be the book of the month for Sept. I heard it was kind of long so I want to give myself a while to read it.:) I'm excited to give it a go.

Thanks so much for linking up with us at Ready, Set..., Read this month.:)


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