Saturday, November 19, 2005

Supa Sister on Books: Memoirs of a Geisha

Synopsis: A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japanese most celebrated geisha.

Okay, so Supa Sister is a lil' late. I'd heard a lot of good hype about this book, yet it sat on my shelf for over a year because Supa Sister is extremely skeptical about historically-based literature written by white folks about a culture outside of their own. Plus, I'd seen a preview for the upcoming movie somewhere, and I thought I'd better go on and read it just in case the movie turned out crappy.

And, whaddaya know? Supa Sister was pleasantly surprised. Memoirs of a Geisha is a beautifully written novel, filled with delicate, haunting, and ethereal prose. The author, Aurthur Golden, definitely did his homework - he explains in the beginning of the novel how he became enthralled with Japanese culture at the age of 14, earned a degree in Art history from Harvard, and an M.A. in Japanese history from Columbia. He also became the close friend of a famous geisha by the name of Nitta Sayuri, and developed his manuscript from conversations he had with her over the course of 18 months.

Sayuri's story is both tragic and redeeming, and gives the reader an understanding of the geisha world, and the choices women were forced to make in early 1900's Japan. From the very first chapter, I knew I would have that beautiful sadness one feels when reaching the end of a truly moving piece of literature. At times, it felt similar to Anita Diamant's 'The Red Tent', which is also a fictionalized story about a phenomenal woman's pain, sadness, joys, and triumphs. In 'Memoirs'...toward the end of the novel, Sayuri says "I lived in a contented state a long while before I was finally able to look back and admit how desolate my life had once been...I'm sure I could never have told my story otherwise; I don't think any of us can speak frankly about pain until we are no longer enduring it."

Every woman has a story, and hers is definitely worth exploring.

Supa Sister, out.

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