Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden explores the lives of women trained to become a geisha since their young age. In this unforgivable predatory world, your outer beauty and grace are the deciding factors for your future. We follow Sayuri, who is taken from her home and sold to a geisha house. Haunted by her past and uncertain about her future, Sayuri has to dabble the hatred and deceit lying ahead.
I was not too fond of the central romance of this book. The story tries to romanticise Sayuri’s blind admiration for Chairman, which I absolutely couldn’t fathom. I felt the author could have added more layers to the Chairman’s personality as this character fell flat due to a lack of information told about him.
With that being said, the world of traditional geisha culture, which is obscure in today’s time drew me in. I loved how Golden described various traditions and myths believed by these women who undergo years of rigorous training to achieve mastery in their field. After reaching on the top, a geisha has to fight envy and politics continually.
To an outsider, geishas are often looked down upon for their career choice. Arthur Golden’s narrative shows us invested hard work and cutthroat competition which these girls overcome to become a geisha. I devoured this information till the very end.