Saturday, 10 September 2016

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden || Review Friday

I was having another one of my insomniac nights. My roommate was out of town and I had even gotten tired of Youtube. That was when I noticed  Memoirs of a Geisha lying on her table. It was not the first time I had noticed the book, but I had always put it in my to-be-read-sometime-in-the-future list. But that night, I took the book and turned the first page. When the sun came up, a golden glory of light on the horizon, I was still reading.

I wouldn't say Memoirs of a Geisha is perfect. I had a few problems with it, which I will list later. But, it is definitely one of the most page-turning books I have read in the past few months. Considering that I'm a fan of fast paced urban fantasy novels, the fact that a non-fantasy book gripped me so hard is a proof of its author's talent.

Title: Memoirs of a Geisha
Author:Arthur Golden

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated 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 is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction - at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful - and completely unforgettable

Notice that I haven't mentioned the genre, there is a reason which I will explain later.

Memoirs of a Geisha is rich in details, has a tight plot and a wide variety of characters that you can hate or empathize with. The writing is not extremely ornamental, but what amazes me is that it manages to capture each emotion, each character quirk, each detail of the kimono so perfectly. 
The author has made Sayuri, the lead protagonist, a character you can root for. Her ambitions, desires, worldview everything is interwoven into the story so deftly, that at no point of time you are left to wonder whether she is real or not.

Remember I had mentioned the genre. It's because when I read the translator's note, it made it appear as if the Arthur was just translating everything for Sayuri. But, in the acknowledgement section, the first line itself is that Sayuri is not real. I had some friends tell me that this is not a real memoir, but others are saying that it is actually based on a real person even though she wasn't credited. Even the blurb itself is confusing, they are saying it's a book of true confessions and in the same page they are saying it's a work of fictionI am leaning towards the fiction side.

A problem I had with the book was that despite it being realistic in all other aspects, when it came to the hero it ended up being a cliche. He was too perfect. My heart broke for the second lead. I am not mentioning who they are because it is part of the climax and I don't want to deprive you of the suspense.

Excluding that single glitch this novel, for me, was a masterpiece. A novel I would proudly recommend to anyone.

Rating: 4.5/5

Woah, I think that's the highest rating I've given so far. 

So far I am at 58/100 in my reading goals. What about you? Which was the last book you read or is currently reading? Which is that one book you will recommend to anyone?

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