Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Memoirs of a Geisha 2

oOnce again, this was a book that should have stopped a little earlier, and not persisted in tying up all the ends, leaving a little mystery to wonder about, perhaps to add our own mental image of Sayuri after she was rescued by the Chairman. Did she really want a sexual relationship with him? He was probably the first person who had been really kind to her and a lot older. This makes him more of an idealised father figure and I would love to think that that was the relationship rather than him using her for sexual gratification like all the other clients. Sex must have been greatly devalued in her eyes. (Perhaps a female author would have written it differently.)
I saw the film the day I finished the book, so I was very aware of the differences in the film. Most of the story was present although telescoped and the atmosphere and sets of old Kyoto were very well done. The biggest problem was the delivery of the dialogue in English. I would have preferred it to be in Japanese with subtitles, as the accents made it tortured with strange emphases. The acting was rather hammy except for Sayuri, who was very good. The subtlety of the attraction between the Chairman and Sayuri in the book was quite lost and became heavy handed. Several parts of the story were changed which removed the slow-burning tension and added drama that wasn’t needed and scenes were set outside rather than inside and an awful lot of rain came down. And Nobu had two arms!

I think the book was far better than the film, but I hope to see it again when on DVD to appreciate the good points when a little time has passed and my memory has faded. (Won't take long.)