Hi everyone, I'm a 23 year old fangirl from le Canada. I'm just transferring from GR and I blog reviews on incompletetales.tumblr.com. I enjoy vast genres and am indeed a Hufflepuff, so don't be afraid to say hello :)
I have no idea how to begin this review, nothing I can possibly say will adequately measure how beautifully enchanting the writing was. Without looking at the context and any possible controversies surrounding how this book came to be, I thought this novel was a mesmerizing read from start to finish.
Our main character Chiyo had such a fascinating life journey, from becoming an orphan to her relative-to-the-story end in New York City, I didn’t realize but slowly I found myself disliking her choices throughout the book. After a while, her decisions made me like her less and less, especially with some choices that may have seemed manipulative and twisted had it been from a different voice. One of the first decisions she made which I instantly disliked was her ability to give in to the life of a geisha so easily as she did.
“I dont think any of us can speak frankly about pain until we are no longer enduring it.”
“If a few minutes of suffering could make me so angry, what would years of it do? Even a stone can be worn down with enough rain.”
I think one of the great aspects of this book was definitely the hardship endured during the War, and how its effects trickle down to even the smallest of villages to large towns like Gion.
While there weren’t many twists and turns in this novel, there was certainly a sense of uncertainty where our main character will end up, or what will happen to her. At most parts, the readers can always tell what is to happen but it’s like a slow train wreck where you’re helpless to do anything but to look.
Chiyo’s relationship with the Chairman, the main love interest of a kind, was slow simmering in its entirety where the ending felt slightly unrealistic. I wholeheartedly was engrossed in Chiyo’s relations with others in her okiya, especially with the elders and Hatsumomo and Pumpkin. While we as readers can see from Chiyo’s POV, as an outsider she really is no different from other geishas imo regarding how she manipulates for her desires whenever she wants.
Obviously I can’t disregard the discrepancies between the way Japan is portrayed, the fact that the author of this story is someone non-Japanese writing as a memoir, or how it was slightly inspired from a true Geisha who did not want so much involvement released publicly through this book and said author disregarded her wishes.