Stock Image

Memoirs of a Geisha

Golden, Arthur

1,499,251 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0375400117 / ISBN 13: 9780375400117
Published by Knopf, U.S.A., 1997
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Modern First Editions Boston (Boston, MA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since December 22, 2015

Quantity Available: 1

Buy Used
Price: US$ 125.00 Convert Currency
Shipping: US$ 3.72 Within U.S.A. Destination, Rates & Speeds
Add to basket

30 Day Return Policy

About this Item

Fine copy in As New dustwrapper. Signed by Golden in black ink on the front page (signature only). Stated first edition, no printing indicated. Unread copy: pages, covers and jacket are crisp, intact and unmarked. Minor dust marks visible on top of pages when book is closed, otherwise As New. Summary: An alluring tour de force: a brilliant debut novel told with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism as the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha. 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. 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, always elusive, is scorned as illusion. Sayuri's story begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Through her eyes, we see the decadent heart of Gion--the geisha district of Kyoto--with its marvelous teahouses and theaters, narrow back alleys, ornate temples, and artists' streets. And 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. But as World War II erupts and the geisha houses are forced to close, Sayuri, with little money and even less food, must reinvent herself all over again to find a rare kind of freedom on her own terms. Memoirs of a Geisha is a book of nuances and vivid metaphor, of memorable characters rendered with humor and pathos. And though the story is rich with detail and a vast knowledge of history, it is the transparent, seductive voice of Sayuri that the reader remembers. A dazzling literary achievement of empathy and grace by an extraordinary new writer. Bookseller Inventory # 000468

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details

Title: Memoirs of a Geisha

Publisher: Knopf, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

An alluring tour de force: a brilliant debut novel told with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism as the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.  

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. 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, always elusive, is scorned as illusion.  

Sayuri's story begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Through her eyes, we see the decadent heart of Gion--the geisha district of Kyoto--with its marvelous teahouses and theaters, narrow back alleys, ornate temples, and artists' streets. And 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. But as World War II erupts and the geisha houses are forced to close, Sayuri, with little money and even less food, must reinvent herself all over again to find a rare kind of freedom on her own terms.

Memoirs of a Geisha is a book of nuances and vivid metaphor, of memorable characters rendered with humor and pathos. And though the story is rich with detail and a vast knowledge of history, it is the transparent, seductive voice of Sayuri that the reader remembers.

A dazzling literary achievement of empathy and grace by an extraordinary new writer.

Review:

According to Arthur Golden's absorbing first novel, the word "geisha" does not mean "prostitute," as Westerners ignorantly assume--it means "artisan" or "artist." To capture the geisha experience in the art of fiction, Golden trained as long and hard as any geisha who must master the arts of music, dance, clever conversation, crafty battle with rival beauties, and cunning seduction of wealthy patrons. After earning degrees in Japanese art and history from Harvard and Columbia--and an M.A. in English--he met a man in Tokyo who was the illegitimate offspring of a renowned businessman and a geisha. This meeting inspired Golden to spend 10 years researching every detail of geisha culture, chiefly relying on the geisha Mineko Iwasaki, who spent years charming the very rich and famous.

The result is a novel with the broad social canvas (and love of coincidence) of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen's intense attention to the nuances of erotic maneuvering. Readers experience the entire life of a geisha, from her origins as an orphaned fishing-village girl in 1929 to her triumphant auction of her mizuage (virginity) for a record price as a teenager to her reminiscent old age as the distinguished mistress of the powerful patron of her dreams. We discover that a geisha is more analogous to a Western "trophy wife" than to a prostitute--and, as in Austen, flat-out prostitution and early death is a woman's alternative to the repressive, arcane system of courtship. In simple, elegant prose, Golden puts us right in the tearoom with the geisha; we are there as she gracefully fights for her life in a social situation where careers are made or destroyed by a witticism, a too-revealing (or not revealing enough) glimpse of flesh under the kimono, or a vicious rumor spread by a rival "as cruel as a spider."

Golden's web is finely woven, but his book has a serious flaw: the geisha's true romance rings hollow--the love of her life is a symbol, not a character. Her villainous geisha nemesis is sharply drawn, but she would be more so if we got a deeper peek into the cause of her motiveless malignity--the plight all geisha share. Still, Golden has won the triple crown of fiction: he has created a plausible female protagonist in a vivid, now-vanished world, and he gloriously captures Japanese culture by expressing his thoughts in authentic Eastern metaphors.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

Growing collection of 900 + books, mostly from 60s, 70s and 80s. Vast majority of books are first editions, many of them first printings and signed. All books are from a private collection and are being sold now for the first time. Unless noted otherwise: books are without marks, original prices are not clipped and there are no former library books. For commission free sales please contact me directly or visit: http://www.biblio.com/bookstore/modernfirsteditionsboston-boston?aid=BSCB2273189

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

Please place your order via the AbeBooks website and allow 2 business days for dispach. I provide buyer's with 30 days from the Estimated Delivery Date to initiate a return for their order.


Shipping Terms:

Books are shipped from Boston, MA using USPS Standard shipping method (Media Mail). Shipping costs are based on book(s) weighing 2.2 LB(1 KG)to 4.0 LB(1.8 KG). If your book order is heavier or oversized, I might contact you to let you know that extra shipping is required. Requests form buyer for expedited shipping method can be accommodated.

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express

Check Cash PayPal Cash on Delivery (COD) Bank Draft Bank/Wire Transfer Direct Debit (Personally Authorized Payment)