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Memoirs of a Geisha is full of surprises, especially to Western readers unfamiliar with the mysterious Japanese geisha. Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, is the novel's author, an American man from Tennessee. Arthur Golden's fascination with Asian culture was sparked years before he began writing Memoirs of a Geishaas he holds degrees in Japanese history and art history with a specialization in Japanese art.
Arthur Golden was born and brought up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is a graduate of Harvard College with a degree in art history, specialising in Japanese art. In he received an MA in English from Boston.
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There is little glamour in this poignant tale, which focuses on the hardscrabble aspects of geisha living and the difficulties Masuda encounters when she leaves that livelihood and finds herself unable to escape the taint of her past. The author wrote the book when she was in her early 30s -- more than a decade after she had left the geisha life -- living hand-to-mouth, earning yen a little less than a dollar a day as a farmhand. Never having received formal schooling, Masuda could write only in the hiragana syllabary taught to children in their first months at school.
View Larger Image. Association copy signed on the title page. Bookseller Inventory Synopsis: An alluring tour de force: a brilliant debut novel told with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism as the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.
As writers, we are eager to learn how writers approach the craft. Memoirs of Geisha is a first-person account of the life of a geisha in Kyoto, Japan, beginning before World War II and continuing after the war. Golden, who studied Japanese language and culture, came up with the idea for the story while he was working in Tokyo.