01 November 2006

Memoirs of a Geisha

I wasn't sure whether I was going to like this book. I don't know why I wasn't sure, I just wasn't. But it was insanely popular and they made a movie out of it. Arthur Golden is no doubt a reasonably wealthy author now (he should help out his brother Al with that Temple football program...) and he managed it by completely ignoring that old saw "write what you know."

So of course I was interested in what the book was like, but as I said I wasn't sure I'd like it.
And the truth is were it not for the stationary bikes in the gym I might not have gotten past the first ten chapters or so. It was the only thing I had that I could read there (the rest of my books at the time were all larger format) so I read it.

It does start a bit slow, at least to me. This is the problem I'm having with Lauderdale right now, in fact, is figuring out how to increase the pacing in the early part of the book without sacrificing the myriad setups to later events. I'm actually rather happy to see that Memoirs has a bit of the same problem, but it seems that millions of Americans were willing to keep reading without benefit of a stationary bicycle, so perhaps there's hope for Lauderdale, too. Not that I'm done working on it, of course.

After the first fifty pages or so, however, I was sufficiently absorbed by the characters that I was quite happy to continue reading. This is true skill, taking characters with whom most readers have nothing in common and making them not just interesting (of course they'll be interesting), but sympathetic as well.

Truth is, I rather enjoyed the book. I'm still a little confused by that. Not much actually happened; there was very little action. I had an inkling what certain of the characters were going to do before they did it, sometimes quite some ways out. But that didn't make the book any less enjoyable.

I'll be putting the movie on my Netflix queue, if only to see how the filmmaker portrays Gion. But the book was good. It was well worth the read; I'm glad I picked it up, and glad I set aside my doubts.
But I'm also glad for the stationary bike.


Smittygirl said...

I'm so glad you read it! The movie was fantastic! I plan on buying it soon...

Anonymous said...

I have not read this book, but it is one I would like to read at some point. My wife and I both loved the movie.

Anonymous said...

read my take on 'memoirs of giesha'