Memoirs of a Geisha This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
   Memoirs of a Geisha is an insightful and fascinating glimpse into the mysterious worldthe geishas of Japan so gracefully inhabited. Arthur Golden's captivatingnarrative vividly recreates the stifling but comforting tradition of the geisha,and showcases the conflicts and changes that occur as World War II arrives in theGion district of Kyoto.

Golden's detailed description of Kyoto's geishaswould undoubtedly be an interesting read in and of itself, but his ability tocontrast the rich tradition of the geisha with the Westernization that World WarII brings leads to inevitable comparisons with Pearl S. Buck and her timelessmasterwork, The Good Earth.

Memoirs of a Geisha follows young Chiyo-chanfrom her unglamorous beginnings as the child of a peasant fisherman to her lifeas a successful geisha. Her parent's ill health and poverty force them to selltheir two children to the geisha houses of Gion. Chiyo is traumatized after beingseparated from her sister and thrust into a life as a maid in the Nitta okiya.Here she finds an existence unlike any she has known. After suffering much abusefrom a powerful senior geisha, it seems her future leads nowhere, save thedetested brothels. It isn't until a chance encounter that Chiyo's future beginsto look up. From here, Golden gives us a poignant and elegant portrait of a younggeisha coming of age.

Memoirs is a remarkable work, but most incredible isthe effective manner in which Arthur Golden portrays the secretive, matriarchalworld of the geisha. The honesty of his writing is a testament to the extensiveresearch he engaged in. Memoirs is a beautiful and fitting eulogy for the ancienttradition and art of the geisha.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 3:00 pm
i love this !
callie15 said...
Jun. 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm
great review! have you seen the movie? it's really good, too.
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback