I wonder if it often happens to people, when they develop an inexplicable aversion towards the things they like doing the most. Whether it is because these activities stop providing us with that pleasure over the years or because over this long while.. we are not the people anymore what we used to be. I certainly don't know..
When I look back at the time when I used to read almost anything I could get my hands on, I wonder why don't I derive such joy out of reading anymore. But every once in a long while, when I stumble upon a book which I'm actually able to finish.. I wonder if it's me who's reading the book.. or is it the book which is making me read it.
Memoirs of a Geisha.. is more than just a fascinating narrative of the life of a Geisha, as the critics claim. It certainly isn't about a life which was unusual. It's also not about unusual characters. The strength and also the essence of the book is the fact.. that behind the intriguing grandeur and subtle darkness of the subject.. lie simple people led by simple emotions in rather unusual circumstances.
The major reason which makes the book gripping however, remains to be author's entrance into a territory rather unknown & fascinating just because of its outlandish & foreign appeal. For the people who love traveling & exploring new places & new culture, the book is indeed a visual treat in some ways.
The transformation of little Chiyo chan to Nitta Sayuri covers most of the book.. while the events later on are wrapped up rather fast, especially the ending which rather looks hurried & extremely tasteless. A little girl from a little fishing village who was sold off by her father to a life of loneliness & misery.. after fighting the ordeals of pain, separation, uncertainty and suppression goes onto become a prominent Geisha.. led by a mysterious encounter with a stranger. That display of kindness actually charted her whole life and all the major events in the book. . However, the magnitude of the passion which that event ignited is rather indigestible at many occasions. But you have to give such leeway to fiction, I guess.
All the characters have this mysterious intriguing nature about them. You often wish you could know more about them & wonder about their points of view. But, the character of Mameha as Sayuri's mentor & Nobu as her suitor were the most touching. Mameha with her grace & Nobu with his crude gentleness & affection never fail to make an impression. And there's something about Pumpkin which grows onto you.
The narrative is simple & sans too much unnecessary clutter. Even when it's in the form of memoirs.. it lacks the mundaneness and innate self gratification surrounding an autobiography. It's just like somebody talking to you about the major events of his/her life. And here the author takes the cake.. and the accolades.
Triggered by the appetite for reading which was since long dormant.. I'm reading the Divine secrets of the Ya-ya sisterhood now. And I'm not liking it one bit. And I again wonder.. whether it's a good reader that makes a good book or a good book brings out a good reader in us.
Well, I'll never know.