Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden | The detail was both it’s amazement and downfall

memoirs of a geisha

This is probably going to be a smaller review than usual, because all the way through reading this I was thinking “…how the hell am I going to review this?”

We shall find out.

spoiler free

Let’s dive right in!

memoirs of a geisha


Synopsis (1)

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.


I honestly don’t know how to word my thoughts on this book.

It’s like nothing I’ve read before – which was my very reason for picking it up. I knew nothing of geisha’s before starting this book, so of course I found out a whole host of new things while reading this. I found it fascinating to see the difference in cultures. Especially in such detail.

But this is a work of fiction, and I don’t know anywhere near enough about the topic to know what’s actually true or false. There’s been a whole host of controversy surrounding this book, with it looked down upon for revealing things about geisha practices when they themselves are very secretive in their ways. Not only that, but even if this was a close following of a geisha’s life, with only a few changes to make it fiction – it’s still just one person’s point of view, and so it could be bias in a number of ways. I’m aware there are a number of books I could read to broaden my understanding – but I’m reviewing this book, not those.

It will never be my place to claim this as a reliable telling or not. Just clearing that up.

That being said, I still found it interesting, as mentioned before. I was intrigued to know more, especially with the level of detail.

And yet, in a weird turn of events…the level of detail went from being amazing, to being this book’s downfall for me. It just dragged on way too long. I started getting bored halfway through the book, and come the end I just…skimmed the pages. And I feel awful, because everyone claims it to be this absolutely amazing book worth all the awards and whatnot. But I just lost interest. It can’t be helped.

It also didn’t help that I started finding it hard to read. Many of the things geisha are taught in this book I couldn’t agree with. It’s a cultural difference, so I don’t want to argue against it or anything, but I just found it hard to read certain scenes at times.

So for me, this book just wasn’t a hit, which is a shame. But ah well.

Rated 2/5 stars

2 stars

Book Depository

give a warning

Share your thoughts!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

If you haven’t, do you plan to?

Let me know in the comments!

Until next time…


Come and visit me!

booktube  twitter  instagram

goodreads  bloglovin



6 thoughts on “Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden | The detail was both it’s amazement and downfall

  1. Oh, I loved this book. But it turns out Golden took some artistic license with the story of the real geisha’s life…there’s a book by her now and it’s really good. But then again, I am obsession with historical fiction from that time period and that part of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed it when I read it. The details never bored me and always intrigued me, since Geisha is such a top-secret practice in Japan. I know about the controversy surrounding this book though, so if you want more authentic accounts, I recommed Geisha of Gion 😀 I understand how you feel, it’s hard to read about other cultures because sometimes they are totally different with ours and it could affect our opinion on the book. Great review, and thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s