Sunday, January 31, 2010

FAVORITE AUTHOR OF THE WEEK: Arthur Golden bestselling author of "Memoirs of a Geisha"

Arthur Golden is the bestselling author of “Memoirs of a Geisha.” In Memoirs of a Geisha, he has done a very daring thing: he, an American man, written in the voice of a Japanese woman.

His brilliant debut novel tells the story of a strikingly pretty child of an impoverished fishing family. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house.

Her name is Chiyo Sakamuto. She learns the rigorous artistic and social skills a geisha must master in order to survive in her society: dance and music, wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men’s solicitude and the money that goes with it.

Chico becomes the geisha name Sayuri, As a renowned geisha she enters a society of wealth, privilege, and political intrigue. As World War II looms Japan and the geisha's world are forever changed by the onslaught of history.

Memoirs of a Geisha is a treasure of a book, an unparalleled look at a strange and mysterious world which has now almost vanished.

Though he’s been termed on “overnight success,” Arthur Golden’s “Memoirs of a Geisha,” was written over a 10-year period in which Mr. Golden rewrote the novel three complete times, changing the point of view before finally settling on the first person viewpoint of Sayuri.

Then novel was written after interviewing a number of geisha, including Mineko Iwasaki, for background information about the world of the geisha. The book is entirely a work of the imagination. Given his family history in journalism, Arthur Golden chose to create a fictional world as close to the truth as he possibly could and strove diligently to get the details right.

“Memoirs of a Geisha,” was on the New York Times Bestseller list for two years. It has sold more than four million copies in English and has been translated into thirty-two languages around the world.

Memoirs of a Geisha were made into a successful film in 2005 by Columbia Pictures and DreamWorks. It was produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, Spyglass Entertainment and Douglas Wick's Red Wagon Productions.

The film was nominated and won numerous awards, including nominations for six Academy Awards, and eventually won three: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. It was directed by Rob Marshal, a six-time Tony Award nominee, Academy Award nominee, Golden Globe nominee and Emmy winner whose most noted work includes the 2002Academy Award Best Picture Chicago and the 1998 Broadway revival of Cabaret.

Arthur Golden graduated from Harvard University where he received a degree in art history, specializing in Japanese art. In 1980 he earned an M.A. in Japanese history from Columbia University, where he also learned Mandarin Chinese. Following a summer at Beijing University, he worked in Tokyo, and, after returning to the United States, earned an M.A. in English from Boston University.

To purchase his book, please visit AMAZON and Barnes & Noble

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