A geisha recounts her fascinating journey at New York’s Waldorf Astoria. This journey is presented in an epical manner in Memoirs Of A Geisha by Arthur Golden. At once tempting, ugly, beguiling and enchanting, the novel wears a many-layered cloak. The book showcases the story of celebrated geisha Nitta Sayuri. From a little fishing village, Nitta is sold as an apprentice and servant to a famous geisha house in the 1930s, in Kyoto. The book uses twenty years of intriguing Japanese history as a perfect backdrop.
Gion, Kyoto’s geisha district, presents an intriguing collage of glamour, ugliness, beauty and falsity. Memoirs Of A Geisha showcases the opulent decadence of Kyoto, where there are auctions to sell a girl’s virginity and women are trained to entice powerful clients. Young girls are trained in the arts of the geisha such as singing, dancing, wearing kimonos, pouring tea and seducing men with ease.
Appearance is the most important aspect of a geisha. Love and feelings are treated as illusions. The novel presents a detailed picture of Kyoto with its little alleys, teahouses, glittering temples, artistic activities and theaters. Sold at the tender age of nine, Sayuri learns to compete with her rivals for male attention and earn money as well. However, the eruption of World War II forces all geisha houses to shut down. Sayuri embarks on a new quest for reinvention and freedom with little food and money for comfort.
Released in 1997, Memoirs Of A Geisha has been translated into thirty two languages. The novel opened to rapturous adulation from critics and readers alike. It remained on the bestseller lists of the New York Times for two whole years. The book has sold in excess of four million copies in English worldwide. The book was adapted into a film, which was released in 2005.
About Arthur Golden
Arthur Golden is a bestselling American author and literary personality. Golden belongs to the Ochs-Sulzberger family who own the New York Times. He studied at Mountain Elementary School and Baylor School. He also completed an art history degree from Harvard University and received his M.A. in Japanese History from Columbia University. Golden has also studied at Peking University and worked in Tokyo before returning to complete an M.A. in English at Boston University. He has learnt Mandarin Chinese and lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.