Chiyo is taken away from her family in a fishing village of Japan and sold to become a geisha in Kyoto. She has very unique eyes which sparks interest from men and jealousy from women. The current geisha of her household does not take well to Chiyo and does what she can to ensure Chiyo doesn't become a geisha. In Chiyo's despair, she happens upon a man of high standing that treats her well and gives her a handkerchief to wipe her tears. Chiyo decides she must become a geisha to find this man again. A rival house offers to train Chiyo and she becomes Sayuri and a very well known geisha.
This book offers some insight in to a world I knew nothing about and it uses very engaging characters to do so. You can instantly connect with Chiyo and how scared she is being sold to a completely different world. The bad characters are interesting as well and you can hate them pretty easily. The characters I didn't completely understand were the men. Why do men pay extravagant amounts of money to have someone pour them sake and tea? Maybe it's because I'm not a man that I don't understand it.
I don't usually enjoy books with flowery descriptions of things, which this book has, but here I thought they were rather lyrical and didn't mind them. If you're looking for a book to get lost in another world, this is a great one.
First Line: "Suppose that you and I were sitting in a quiet room overlooking a garden, chatting and sipping at our cups of green tea while we talked about something that had happened a long while ago and I said to you, 'That afternoon when I met so-and-so... was the very best afternoon of my life, and also the very worst afternoon.'"