Memoirs of a Geisha is about as cheesy as you’d expect of a book where the main character is a beautiful Japanese girl with blue-gray eyes. I mean, for serious. It’s like Big Trouble in Little Kyoto without any kung fu.
In all seriousness, the Japanese economy is the best developed character in this book. Handwoven kimonos cost more than a policeman’s annual salary, and our blue-eyed girl wears them every day even though she’s dirt poor and enslaved by debt. Golden is at his best when he describes kimonos: the way they look, the way they feel, how much they cost, and what relationship they create between the giver and the receiver.
The overall feel is of a stylish anime film where every character can be summed up in 5 words. In any case, when I get a house, I’m going to invite my friends to dress their finest, bring a poem, and come to my moon viewing party.
Warning: The ending is among the worst endings I’ve ever read. Ever. Readers are strongly advised to abandon ship at least 100 pages before the end.