Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha

When Arthur Golden’s beautifully crafted novel Memoirs of a Geisha was published in 1997 it became an instant bestseller and something of a national phenomenon.  In its first four years on the market the novel was on The New York Times bestseller list for 58 weeks and sold over 4 million copies in English.  This was made all the more astounding given that the book was Golden’s first and, as of 2014, only published work. 



Golden's book is known for its historical accuracy (in 1980 Golden graduated from Columbia University with a M.A. in Japanese History), its richly descriptive language, and the philosophical musings of Chiyo, the story's narrator and main character.  Readers who enjoyed this work might also like these descriptive, female driven stories set in another time and place.  

1. Rebecca

2. Snow Falling on Cedars

3. Out of Africa

4. Jane Eyre

5. Orphan Train

6. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

7. White Oleander


The 2005 film of Memoirs of a Geisha, directed by Rob Marshall, proved an equally stunning counterpoint to the original book.  The fim initially garnered some criticism, because the cast was mostly comprised of English speaking Chinese actors despite the Japanese characters.  Regardless, the film was showered with critical acclaim.  It won three Academy Awards as well as a Golden Globe.