Genre 1, Historical Fiction: Memoirs of Geisha by Arthur Golden

18 Mar

geisha1AUTHOR: Arthur Golden                   DATE READ: February 3 – 9, 2014

TITLE: Memoirs of a Geisha               PUB. DATE: 1997     

GENRE: Historical Fiction                   PAGES: 428

APPEAL CHARACTERISTICS:                                             

          PACING: leisurely unfolding, densely written, engrossing

         CHARACTERIZATIONS: detailed, vivid, well-developed, intriguing  secondary  characters

         STORY LINE: character centered, resolved ending                                                                             

         FRAME: exotic, details on Geisha culture and traditions, historical details, charming


Nine years old Chiyo is sold and taken away from her family to a large city of Kyoto.  In order to pay debt she has to work as a maid and undergoes cruel treatment at the hand of owners and a head geisha Hatsumomo.  Once she meets a chairman, she is determined to become a geisha so she can have a better life and become his companion one day.  Chiyo, under her new geisha name Sayuri, returns back to geisha school and thanks to her talents, unique color of her eyes, and great mentorship from her Geisha mentor, Sayuri becomes a famous geisha.  Sayuri has to still keep watching for Hatsumomo and Pumpkin who are jealous of her success and undermine her position at all times.  Sayuri is still in love with the chairman who does not show any interests in her.  During WW2 Sayuri has to leave Kyoto but after her return she meets with the chairman who also expresses his feelings toward her; Sayuri is not a geisha anymore; she becomes the chairman’s mistress.                                       

Geographical setting: Japan

Time period: 1930s – 1950s

Series: N/A                

Subject headings: Geishas, Japan, women, culture, social life, prostitution, history, manners and customs

SIMILAR AUTHORS: Tracy Chevalier, Amy Tan, Katherine Govier, Anchee Min, Lisa See, Lesley Downer, Philippa Gregory    


 Genre comments:

This elegantly written novel is considered as a historical novel and beautifully depicts customs and traditions of Geisha culture. The story portrays lives of Geishas in realistic way; historical details are accurate. The author describes that period by using “authentic” language and style so that reader can easily imagine that historical era. (Saricks, 2009, p.292)



Saricks, J.G. (2009). The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: American Library Association (ALA).


Leave a comment

Posted by on March 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , ,

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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

%d bloggers like this: