Through the letters of: Memories of a geisha

Through the letters of: Memories of a geisha

The book came into my hands because I saw the film and it seemed so beautiful, that I saw it a couple of times more, I loved the soundtrack, the landscapes, the photography and the story that is quite engaging. I wanted to check what they say out there that “the book is always much better than the movie version”, so ¡I read it!.

What is the book about?

It is the story of a girl named Chiyo, who from a young age falls in love with a much older man, Mr. Tanaka, because of her poverty and the serious illness of her mother, his father is forced to sell them through the intermediation of Mr. Tanaka himself. She and her sister to work in the district of Gion, by circumstances of life they are separated and her sister goes to a brothel; but Chiyo-san, who later would take the name of Sayuri, goes to work first as a maid in an okiya (boarding house) then, in exchange for her training (become geisha), clothing and food, contribute to okiya. As Sayuri grows not only in age but also in beauty, she grows as a geisha and quickly gains fame among clients. However, for Sayuri, Mr. Tanaka is always present in her heart and she always struggles to be with him.

What did I like?

The story is a little bit more complex and less romantic than the movie, however, it is possible to go by the hand of Sayuri our protagonist through his childhood, then her adulthood, all his encounters and disagreements with his eternal love Mr. Tanaka or the President as he is known in the film, although the two stories (Film vs. Book) narrate the romance between the protagonists in a slightly different way , both versions were nice for me.

My favorite fragment

This fragment synthesizes (in my concept) all the feelings and thoughts of Sayuri:

“…What if I came to the end of my life and realized that I’d spent every day watching for a man who would never come to me?
What an unbearable sorrow it would be, to realize I’d never really tasted the things I’d eaten, or seen the places I’d been because I’d thought of nothing but the Chairman even while my life was drifting away from me. And yet if I drew my thoughts back from him, what life would I have? I would be like a dancer
who had practiced since childhood for a performance she would never give.

Why should you read it?

Because it is a story that, apart from narrating the romance between Mr. Tanaka and Sayuri, recreates the refined life of the geishas, their education, their costumes and makeup and helps us to better understand that part of Japanese culture and the impact of the II World War in the daily life of people in Japan.

As an interesting fact, this book is based on the life of the geisha Mineko Iwasaki who had problems for having been mentioned in the acknowledgments of the book by the author Arthur Golden, according to her, he did not respect the confidentiality requested. Mineko has her own book “Geisha: A life”.

Original title: Memoirs of  a Geisha

Author: Arthur Golden

Year of publication:  1999


“Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which means that if you decide to buy the product I will take a commission at no additional cost to you, however, it is my hope that this brief review will help you make the decision on whether you really want or need this book :). “

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