If you haven't already, go out *right now* and pick up a copy of Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. I read it yesterday. Well, I read the first 40 pages of it on Friday evening, and then I read the rest of it Saturday night in the bathroom, and finished it yesterday morning, but that's not really the point.
The point is: this is a great book.
While many of the events it describes are far from gentle, the overall tone is one of gentility. It's a calm book, the kind you read while sipping tea. It would be a good bath book, I think, as well.
It's presented as if it were not a novel, but the actual first-person account of a woman, Sayuri, who was a geisha in the '30's and 40's. It's about love and loss and destiny.
And it's got the period backdrop that makes it feel like an old movie.
What shocked me, though, after I read it, was not that it was fiction, because, after all, I knew that going in, but that a man – a straight man – could write a woman's POV with such quiet sensitivity. And it's just that feeling that made this book so haunting.
So…read this book.
*Edited to note that yes, there is some controversy about this story. It's presented as fiction, but the person the lead character is based on says that it's really her life story, and her own people are pretty pissed. Whether that's true, or it's just a ploy for media attention, the fact remains it's a great read. And isn't that what really matters?