Saturday, January 22, 2005
In a Nutshell: As the title describes, this book is the narration of a fictional, sought after Geisha girl as she looks back on her life in Japan. She tell her story on how she was born in poverty and how she was sold to a Geisha house when she was very little and was forced to abandon her older sister. It was at that house she grew up in the art of Geisha. And as in any house filled with women, the story unfolds with friendships, betrayals, cat fights and the like. But the backdrop to all of this is the rich , beautiful culture of Japan, and woven subtly throughout is a very tender love story.
My Take: Okay. First of all I cannot believe a man wrote this book. The female characters developed in this story are so rich and so real, it is incredible. It was also very educational. I always understood Geisha girls to be prostitutes, but they were very much cultural treasures in Japan. They were taught Japanese music, dance and art, and were educated to be able to speak intelligently to men. This mysterious world just envelops you in this rich story, and I was swept away. If you plan on reading this, plan on getting NO SLEEP. This was an amazing book. The story was so passionate. You just can't stop reading it. An all-time favorite for me.
In a Nutshell: This book is told from the author's point of view as he tells his tale of growing up in a really poor area of Ireland. He tells of his childhood with an alcoholic father, strict school teachers and a mother who tried to keep it all together (as more children kept being born). The tale is told in all of Ireland's grittiness and dirt, giving a textural and emotional account of love, forgiveness and survival.
My Take: Wow, what a great book. Many find it depressing, but I did not. I think the writer had come to terms with his life, and it shows through in the writing. He writes about his past (which at times is downright tragic) with humor and love for his family. There are times you just want to punch his father. But woven throughout this story is a sense of forgiveness and fond memories of his father that you could feel. Family is complicated. Love for them is complicated. Frank McCourt really delves into these relationships with beauty and texture. I could not put it down. Lovely writing. Lovely book.