- Taschenbuch: 448 Seiten
- Verlag: Vintage; Auflage: First Vintage Canada Edition (10. Januar 1999)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0679781587
- ISBN-13: 978-0679781585
- Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: 14 - 18 Jahre
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,1 x 2,5 x 20,2 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 154 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 670.266 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
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Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 10. Januar 1999
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"Astonishing . . . breathtaking . . . You are seduced completely." —Washington Post Book World
"Captivating, minutely imagined . . . a novel that refuses to stay shut." —Newsweek
"A story with the social vibrancy and narrative sweep of a much-loved 19th century bildungsroman. . . . This is a high-wire act. . . . Rarely has a world so closed and foreign been evoked with such natural assurance." —The New Yorker
A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism 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. 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.
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We follow Sayuri's story from ages 9 to after the age of 30 - watch her grow up in the world of Geisha, entertain, and receive lavish gifts from the men who seek her company. The Geisha are viewed more as a "trophy wife" or mistress more than a prostitute, as it seems to be older men who want their affections.
The book ends when Sayuri is an old woman, living in New York. She looks back on her life as a Geisha and revels in all that has come to pass.
This was a pretty good book. I have never read much about the Geisha before, and I have not seen the movie based on this book as of yet. So I wasn't very familiar going into the story of what a Geisha was. I am in agreement that they are definitely more a mistress than a prostitute, at least the way this story has spun them, because if they are successful - they latch on to one or two men in their who Geisha career. These men lavish them with money, gifts, places to live and they go through a ceremony that links them together for life. Most of these men - if not all - have wives.
The kimono, the make up, the parites, the ceremoneis - it was more than I have ever realized. This story takes place in the 1930s-1950s for the most part, when Geisha in Gion numbered over 600. That is incredible. It is a life style that I could never even fathom.
I enjoyed the book. It gave a nice insight into the world of Japan's Geisha. What I found disturbing was the main character - Sayuri's - constant chase for one man. How she loved him from the minute she met him. It disturbs me that the Geisha chase married men. But then I think - this is all Sayuri knows. She was sold into this life and was given no way out. So I am not sure the chase is entirely her fault.
I would encourage you to read it. I think there is a lot to be learned about customs from countries all around the world.
This is also a beautiful novel, charming and witty with just the barest touch of satire, an original work of a cunning genius, as readable as a best seller, as satisfying as a masterpiece. Although written as realistic fiction and presented as the memoirs of someone who really did exist, the story and especially the action are veiled reality. Notice that Sayuri is fifteen when she first learns of the significance of her virginity. Since her captors would have put a very high price on maintaining that virginity until they could sell it, they would have taken very careful measures to ensure that she could not lose it; consequently, being the clever girl that she was, Sayuri would have understood what that meant. And to suppose that she knew nothing of sexual intercourse until Mameha's story of the lonely eel and the cave... Well, this is part of the contrivance and illusion maintained by geisha and its tradition. But make no mistake, the girls know, but their knowledge must be expressed and understood euphemistically.
There are a number of other "contradictions" in the novel that are of no real import because the world of the geisha is the world of illusion and fairy tale. Although Chiyo never says so directly, she knew quite well what was being done to her sister in the house of ill-repute that she visited in the poor section of Kyoto. There is something wonderful and alluring about this duplicitous view of human sexuality found in all cultures. One of the wonderful things about Golden's novel is how he shows us its expression in the Japanese tradition. When Hatsumomo's vagina is forcibly investigated by Granny and Mother looking for evidence of semen (and Chiyo is about ten years old) she understands what was found because she had seen the man between Hatsumomo's legs in the dim light through the partially opened door. Adults find comfort in the illusion of a sexless childhood, comfort that can only be maintained through the artifice of self-deception. Please note that this is not a criticism of the novel; on the contrary. It is part of Golden's vision to realize that a fairy tale view of Chiyo's sexuality was necessary. Note also the scenes with Mr. Tanaka when she appears as a naked nine-year-old. Read carefully we can see that his sexual desire for her is apparent and is symbolically acted out through the device of her sister with the Sugi boy and Mr. Tanaka's bare touch of her cheek. Incidentally Nitta Sayuri's narrative is coy by design, and it is this structure that allows Golden to so beautifully present this fairy tale world with its illusion of a foreign and bygone reality.
But the fairy tale ends three-quarters of the way through, and then begins a counter point as the war and the hardships are brought home to the Japanese people and to Sayuri personally. Now we have a tale stripped of illusion, devoid of symbolism, replete with the harsh reality of a civilian population with dwindling resources, impending loss, and the sound of bombers overhead...
This is the kind of novel that makes other novelists despair of ever coming close. The exquisite style, the confident scholarship, the ample energy so gracefully expended, the unerring sense of what is appropriate, the generous and apt use of metaphor, the clever plotting, the rich detail, the sure commercial feel: a publisher's dream, an agent's orgasmic rush-and it is only Golden's first novel! I expect a lavish movie production, an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, and perhaps even the first important opera of the twenty-first century to follow.
Or maybe a Disney cartoon in the tradition of Snow White and Cinderella.