Saturday, August 11, 2012

Book review - Memoirs of a Geisha

ReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewMar 27, '06 11:42 AM

Genre: Literature & Fiction
Author:Arthur Golden
I can't quite understand why Arthur Golden started the tale as told by Sayuri as an autobiography, then went and deflate us in the epilogue with the statement that the character was a figment of his imagination. Yet, I would believe, perhaps, he intends to be as truthful as possible, in much the same way as he maintains to be the basic characteristics of his main character, to tell it like it is. Also, whether wittingly or not, he seems to give away the fact that Sayuri's descriptions of public life, the city, landscape, buildings and other various subjects in a rather 'masculine' nature, rather than from the point of view of a poor, uneducated orphan girl who was only trained later to be a good entertainer and whose major preoccupation was to put others at ease.

The book naturally brings out the story much more clearly and in much finer details in comparison to the movie. It is written in the first person description of life in pre-war Japan when Feudalism was still in existence, the abject poverty, the sufferings of ordinary citizens of a nation at war and life after a humiliating defeat. While reading the book you can stop and reflect on the images Sayuri tries to describe to get the facts right, whereas the movie just moves on and we tend to miss some of the major facts and lose track of the some of the issues thus ending up with the wrong impressions of the main characters in the plot.

In spite of the fact that the story is pretty interesting and contains much historical facts, I still can't get over the idea that she could reflect on life and its idiosyncrasies in such a philosophical way that is simply beyond a geisha's mentality even though she may be one extraordinary woman.

Still, I would give a high credit to Arthur Golden for a great tale with a wonderful plot and great setting.

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