Memoirs of a Geisha is a fascinating fictional look at the life of one geisha. Chiyo is sold to a geisha house at a young age, enduring difficult training and brutal treatment with the aim of becoming a geisha. The role involves artistry, entertainment, companionship, and is--at the time--essentially prostitution cloaked in an elegant veneer. The paradox of a geisha's life is her role of servitude coupled with her power over men. Chiyo--now Sayuri--spends her life devoted to beguiling men and becomes one of the most celebrated geishas in Japan. As World War II changes Japan, the role of the geisha will also be forever changed.
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Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men’s solicitude and the money that goes with it.
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction—at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful—and completely unforgettable.