Today’s visit takes me to a place that both captivates me and horrifies me in equal measure. A world that is so far repmoved from mine that I sometimes think that I will never fully understand it, but this novel took me right to the heart of it and I felt as if I had caught a glimpse of what it would feel like from a young girl’s point of view.
Set in Kyoto in the 1920s
Memoirs of a Geisha paints a picture of a secret, beautiful world. But scratch off the paintwork and the world within is one of pain and suffering.
Geishas are beautiful ladies who seem to live a life of luxury, but appearances are very deceptive.
They cannot think for themselves – they are owned by the men they entertain.
Their freedoms are controlled and contained by the women who own the geisha homes
Based in the 1920’s in Kyoto, Japan, a young girl named Chiyo lives with her sister Satsu, in a poor town called Yoriodo along with her elderly parents. She is sold to a man who takes her to be an apprentice geisha in the city. The head geisha is jealous of her good looks and soon starts to make Chiyo’s life painful. All a geisha has to do now is to serve her master and to find a man who will not necessarily love her but to keep her and control her. But Chiyo falls in love…
Memoirs is a window into a different world – a world which you may not wish to enter and certainly not want to be part of, yet it is worth a visit for the fascinating fate of one geisha who is herself representative of many others.
There are evocative descriptions about places, ceremonies, kimonos and feelings which paint a picture however horrifying at times, you simply cannot take your eyes off. But that’s a good thing as to do so would be missing an amazing tour of the streets and atmosphere of Kyoto.