Memoirs Of A Geisha was simply fabulous. The story draws you in. Don’t let the length daunt you. I have actually known people who will not read novels longer than 400 pages, especially if the type is small. With this story, it does not matter. You want there to be more words. You want to know everything about Sayuri.
Arthur Golden fools you into believing that Sayuri is a real person. You want to believe that these ‘Memoirs’ are real. I am sure you’ve heard by now that they are not. Our sweet, little Chiyo never existed. If you don’t know at the beginning, Golden tells you plainly at the end. He describes where the story came from and how he came to know the world of Geisha.
Feelings become confused reading this novel. A Geisha isn’t a princess. Her happy ending is not the big wedding and living happily ever after. There is only so much a Geisha can hope for and a fairytale ending is not possible. A Geisha is not a prostitute, though some lesser Geisha have prostituted themselves. Their virginity is also sold to the highest bidder. But that isn’t all. They spend their whole lives training and learning. The good ones may only have sex with a handful of men their whole lives; potentially as few as two.
A Geisha isn’t free. It is rare for one to go off and get married. Being a Geisha is something they are born into or sold into. It is romanticized, but the reality should not be ignored. That is what Golden gives us; a deep look into the real life of Geisha.