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.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Memoirs of a Geisha

I really enjoyed this book. It combined a very good tale of slow-burning suspense with the interest of the geisha of Kyoto. The female jealousy in the fight for survival by girls using their charms to pull themselves out of poverty was powerfully handled. They learnt very quickly how much their future depended on being attractive to the rich men able to support a geisha and only the best would be successful. Although basically prostitutes, the complex dress code and musical,dance and social skills the girls have to learn raised their status.
The information seemed well researched and it was fascinating to learn about something that has always been quite mysterious and exotic, even though the reality of the girls’ situation was vulnerable and sordid. In spite of being forced to leave her family at too early an age Sayuri was bright enough to grab her opportunities and eventually was able to mix and converse with the higher echelons of society.
The story was long and detailed, but gradually increased in suspense, which made the book quite a page-turner. The characters were vibrant and well described. Sayuri’s story is told by herself to the ‘author’ in later life, so we have an idea of how she survives her ordeal, but that does not seem to detract from the power of the story. Jolly good book.

Then I went to see the film.