This is by far the most simplest, most touching book I’ve ever had the good fortune to read. I’m not exaggerating!
It’s the memoir of Sayuri, the daughter of a fisherman who becomes a geisha and her struggles on the way to finding her destiny. What strikes you first about the book would probably be its simplicity. The language, the narration – it doesn’t weigh you down with all the verbosity that one would generally find in a ‘memoir’. After a point, you might not even be conscious of the language or the fact that it is a book and you’re not exactly in Kyoto seeing the entire thing happening in front of your eyes. The entire story is said from the perspective of Sayuri and you can actually feel a difference in the narration when it is from a 9 year old girl from a fishing village and a 30yr old geisha – the innocence that gradually fades away as Sayuri meets the people that make and sometimes break her life.
What I found spell-binding was the way of life for a geisha. I remember those calendars we used to have at home with a Japanese girl in a kimono for each month of the year (if I remember correctly, it was Mitsubishi’s calendar – way back in the 1980s) – well, that girl is a geisha. Me didn’t know that – I thought all Japanese women dressed that way! I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Their way of life is so fairy-tale-like that it’s just so amazing that people used to be like that (they could still be like that for all I know!). From the make-up, the hair (did you know their hairstyles are waxed into place and they have special cradle like contraptions to rest their heads when they sleep at night so their hairstyles stay in place?!), the kimonos (my favorites – the author gives awesome descriptions of each kimono and each one outshines the one before) and their etiquette and what not!
A beautiful book, reminds me of a lazy afternoon with a cup of hot masala tea and Mom’s potato bajjis. Aaah, heaven!
Read it. My book-review sucks, but the book is way cool. **wink**
Maybe I can even watch the movie now and see how close my imagination is to the portrayals on screen!