- Author Arthur Golden
Somewhere, in the dusty corners of my mind, I recall watching the film of this book and not being particularly bothered about it. The book, I’m glad to say, is much better. Written as a memoir, and told from the perspective of an older woman looking back on how her life unfolded, there’s a friendly and casual air to the story - but with a hint of something still being held back.
The author pertains to have done plenty of research, and I can’t say I know very much about the world of geishas, so I learnt a lot as I went a long. It’s not really a mindset I could ever fathom, so it was hard to relate, but I don’t think that mattered in this book. It was about the story, and it was told very well.
I really enjoyed the characters, their interactions, and how they developed. The slow breakdown of Hatsumomo, the thawing of Nobu, the growing bitterness of Pumpkin, it was fascinating to be an insider looking in. I also liked the twists and turns of the relationships, how the geishas manipulated the men they served, and each other!
The whole thing was tinged with sadness, so that even though there was something of a happy ending, it wasn’t contrived or disappointing. It also didn’t leave me with a warm contented feeling, either, so it’s a good job I wasn’t looking for that in a book!
Overall, I really liked it, and I can almost imagine it’s the type of book I might read again in a few years time.