,TC Memoirs of a Geisha," by Arthur Golden. Knopf. 434...

Book Brief

November 02, 1997|By Karen Heller | Karen Heller,Inquirer Magazine

,TC Memoirs of a Geisha," by Arthur Golden. Knopf. 434 pages. $25.

Arthur Golden's "Memoirs of a Geisha" provides a refreshing twist: using meticulous historical research to fashion a first novel of stunning effect. Geisha, it is explained, means "artisan" or "artist," but at a cost.

The underlying sadness is this struggle among the geisha's nobility, the exacting nature of such a life, and its ultimate subjugation of free will.

Though set before and during World War II, there is a timelessness to the geisha's art. A geisha's life becomes defined not simply by her intelligence and artistry, but by the very men she attracts and the considerable income they bring her "okiya."

Pub Date: 11/02/97

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