Category: Historical novel


Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

In a    :

 Browsing in my local charity shop a couple of weeks ago, I spotted this book and, recognising the title bought it on the basis that I didn’t think I’d read anything like it before, and I was right. From the opening chapter I was spirited away to a vibrant land, a culture and an era so diverse from my own that I was immediately hooked and remained so throughout the book. Although this isn’t the type of read to have you on the edge of your seat it is unputdownable all the same because the author makes you care so much about the little girl, Chiyo who is seperated from her family and sent to Gion to train as a Geisha in the years just before and after World War 2. Chiyo’s path is anything but smooth as she incurs the wrath of the cruel Geisha, Hatsumomo and we suffer alongside her as she recounts the fascinating, terrible and often beautiful world that the Geisha inhabits. In part I suppose you could call it a love story but it really is so much more than that.  The detail that Golden goes into is amazing, (his MA was in Japanese history) and the story a remarkable one that will remain with you long after you have finished reading it.


Historical novel

Number of Pages


Interesting Fact:

Sayuri (Chiyo’s geisha name) would not allow the manuscript for her book to be published until after her death and the deaths of several men who had figured prominently in her life for fear of embarrassing anybody.

Been made into a film?

Hai, here’s the link:

What I like about the book:

That I learned so much about a culture and period in time previously unknown to me, and all through the eyes of an insider. I also liked the fact that Sayuri’s story was told without rancour or judgement, that was just the way it was.

And dislike:

Although I loved the descriptive narrative of this book, sometimes Golden went into a wee bit too much detail about the clothing which at times made me switch off.

Final thoughts:

If you’re looking for a light and easy read or an action packed story then this definitely isn’t the one for you but if you fancy escaping into an entirely different culture and learning quite a bit along the way, then go for it. A fantastic and unpredictable read, Memoirs of a Geisha will have you rooting for little silver eyed Chiyo right up until the end.

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