Tuesday, 3 November 2015

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA by Arthur Golden

I'm afraid I couldn't get past the first few chapters. I don't know why people love this book so much. It just screamed: THE AUTHOR THINKS THIS IS SO EXOTIC. I hate that. He's just loving that it's JAPAN, and people are POOR, and oh god best of all they are SEX WORKERS WHO WEAR FACE PAINT. Snore.

Arthur Golden is a white American man writing about an Asian woman, so there will be a long line of people queuing up to complain that he's a cultural imperialist suppressing the voice of the Other, and etc etc. I'm tempted to Google it right now just to see how many million hits I get on the novel title + 'orientalist'. I am not one of these people. I think it's great when writers stretch beyond their own tiny experience to write the world; but good god you've got to do it well - and MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA: well, it's not so good. Not in my experience anyway, but then it did spend two years on the New York Times bestseller list, so what do I know. (Actually I just googled to find out how long it was on the list, and guess what: the author is part of the family that owns the New York Times. No wonder he finds it deeply exotic that someone might be poor).

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