Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha


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. (Summary and cover courtesy of


I found this one beautifully written, a slow build and an interesting view on the Japanese culture at the time.  That being said, I will call out that this is a book about Eastern culture written by a Western author and this is a book of historical fiction.  I’ve talked to a few people who think this actually a memoir so it deserves the disclaimer.  No matter how well-researched, I am sure there are multiple inaccuracies and/or assumptions thrown in.  I would say this book is almost like a Disney version of a brother’s Grimm fairy tale.  Not to imply the real story is darker, but that there are many complexities that are glossed over and glamorized to make an extremely entertaining read.

That being said, taking the book at the entertainment value, I really enjoyed the story.  The book was interesting, unusual and definitely had some surprises for me while reading it.  Sometimes I felt I knew exactly what the characters were feeling and at others completely mystified.  All in all, this is one that I would still recommend, but to keep in mind the underlying complexities when looking back at it.

Warning: Contains violence and sexual content.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Anyone interesting in diving into the world of the geisha and Japanese culture.