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Arthur Golden Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Memoirs of a Geisha (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon

Arthur Golden is a historical and literary fiction novelist who is best known for his novel “Memoirs of a Geisha.”
The author was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee to Ben Hale Golden and Ruth Sulzberger Golden.

He was just eight when his parents separated and a few years later his father was dead. His mother moved to Georgia and the small town of Lookout Mountain where he went to elementary school, middle school, and then to Baylor School for high school.
In 1974, Golden graduated from high school and then moved to Boston to attend Harvard University.

He had always been fascinated with Japanese art and this is what he decided to study in college, as he majored in Japanese art and graduated with an art history degree.

In 1982, Arthur got married to his wife Gertrude Legge and the two would then have two kids. The family currently makes their home in the small Massachusetts town of South Dartmouth.

Golden happens to be related to Adolph Ochs the original publisher and owner of the New York Times. Ruth Sulzberger his mother is from the Ochs-Sulzberger family, which ran and owned the New York Times when it was started.

Golden’s only and most famous novel “Memoirs of a Geisha” was written over half a dozen years ago. Much of the text was rewritten at least three times while he was looking to publish it,

Initially, the draft was penned in the third-person perspective but after he interviewed former Geisha Mineko Iwasaki, Golden came to believe that a first-person point of view was more suitable.
The translator of the work Jakob Haarhuis is intended to be a representative of the interview/conversation between Mineko Iwasaki and Golden as he records the Sayuri memoirs.

However, it was not only Mineko who was interviewed, as Golden had conversations with several other geishas who were not as well known.

“Memoirs of a Geisha” was published in 1997 and immediately became a success, as it was on the bestseller list in the New York Times for at least two years.
Since its publication, the novel has continued to maintain its popularity and it has now been translated into more than 32 languages across the world.

As a bestseller, it has sold more than four million copies in the English language and hundreds of thousands if not millions more in other languages.

It has also been adapted into a feature film that starred Ken Watanabe and Ziyi Zhang under the directorship of Rob Marshall, who would then win an Academy Award.

Following the publication of the novel in Japanese, Mineko Iwasaki sued Arthur Golden. According to Iwasaki, Golden had breached a contract they had entered into and had in essence defamed her character.
She did not like that she had used portions of her story that contained some elements of her life that she wanted to be kept secret.

According to Mineko, Golden had agreed with her conditions on ensuring her identity was kept secret before she allowed him to interview her.

This was particularly relevant since the geisha are known for their code of privacy and silence that goes back over the centuries.

While not much is known about what happened in the case, Iwasaki and Golden decided to settle it out of court in 2003.

Following the publication of the novel, Arthur Golden was praised for his adequate portrayal of the feelings and thoughts of a woman as a man.

The most striking thing about the novel is how Golden creates an utterly convincing character. The lead in his novel is a woman who is a spirited heroine but at the same time a traditional product of the archaic gender traditions of Japan.
Golden allows his protagonist to tell her story in colloquial and chatty terms which makes it easy for the reader to identify with her feelings of disgust, puzzlement, and surprise at the rituals she has to go through.
The author provides not only an excellently observed picture of a largely vanished and anomalous world but also a sympathetic and rich portrait of a woman.

Even though he got much of his inspiration from the interviews and conversations he had with Mineko, Golden has often said that his schooling also had a part to play in the final novel.
While he never references any author or writer as an influence, his passion for writing and learning about Japanese history is evident in the degrees that he got in his undergraduate and graduate education.

Arthur Golden’s novel “Memoirs of a Geisha” is an interesting work of fiction that looks into the life of Japanese geisha.

The lead in the work is Chiyo who is very young when she falls for a much older man. From the moment she meets Chirman who is the love of her life, things take a turn in her life.

All her life is now focused on reaching the man that she forgets about all her bigger dreams and goals. Looking deeper into it, it probably has something to do with her upbringing and education.
Chiyo is more or less a slave whose life has been all about training to bring pleasure to men who are like alien beings who mean nothing to her.

Up to this time, she has never experienced any kindness that did not have ill intentions behind it and she has just about lost all faith in humanity.

But then a man comes onto the scene who exhibits true kindness and she cannot help but make it her life purpose to get him for herself. He is just the type of man she desires and needs for herself and this becomes her biggest goal in life.
Considering what her life was before that, she suddenly has something worthwhile that she lives for and her decision to reach the Chairman is deeply moving.

While nothing important happens in the course of the story, it is an excellent work that provides some great insights into the lives of geishas that comes with relatable and very real characters.

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