Thursday 23 December 2021

Book Review: Geisha by Liza Dalby (Non-Fiction)

Title: Geisha
Author:  Liza Dalby
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 2000 (1983)
Format: Paperback
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: Borrowed Copy

Liza Dalby, author of The Tale of Murasaki, is the only non-Japanese woman ever to have become a geisha. This is her unique insight into the extraordinary, closed world of the geisha, a world of grace, beauty and tradition that has long fascinated and enthralled the West. Taking us to the heart of a way of life normally hidden from the public gaze, Liza Dalby shows us the detailed reality that lies behind the bestselling Memoirs of a Geisha and opens our eyes to an ancient profession that continues to survive in today's modern Japan.


Geisha by Liza Dalby was an interesting and enlightening read. Her experiences and her original composition of the text are from the 1970s and 1980s. Therefore, some of her commentary on the general role of women/wives feels a little outdated thirty years on, as things have changed over that time. However, this book still offers great insight into the life of a geisha and how their roles and training have changed and/or stayed the same over the decades and centuries. The photographs and illustrations are a lovely addition to the text and the book is well presented, with topics introduced by theme chapter by chapter. This is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the geisha and Japanese culture in general.

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