Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

May 5, 2008
By Tyler Ulibarri, Independence, KS

Made into a hit movie a few years ago, Arthur Golden's account of a young geisha named Sayuri making her way in the geisha district of Gion is an inspiring novel, striking a deeply romantic chord whilst giving the reader the sensation of a backwards, alien world around the time of World War Two, when the United States knew nothing of Japan. The novel depicts an intriguing, deep feeling of remorse, gladness, and disgust at the various predicaments Sayuri finds herself in. What she must do in order to achieve her ultimate goal will astound readers, and her struggles will touch any drama-reader. There are pieces of this book that nearly anyone will enjoy, but that is not to say that the novel is without its flaws.

Memoirs of a Geisha is not a true account of any true-to-life story, nor is it historically accurate. Many of young Sayuri's struggles are imagined; in fact, the former geisha who provided Golden with the information to create the novel discredited it, wrote an autobiography of her own, and sued Golden for putting her name in a list of those credited; she had opted to remain anonymous.

All-in-all, this is an older classic that deserves a fresh read. For those that have left it on their shelves for years, now is the time to give it another read. For those who have not yet read this book, now is the time to start, by going to your nearest book store and picking up a copy. Despite the historical inaccuracies, this book is one of the most enticing of the few American novels written about the Japanese culture.

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