I just finished reading Memoirs of A Geisha. I think it's a very good book. I don't know if I want to see the film, because I am sure it will be beautiful and with many layers, but it will not be the book. Just as Peter Jackson's movies are not the same at all as the book, nor are the Harry Potter films as complete or thorough in how they can touch the reader of a book.
Not that Memoirs ought to be in the same classification of either of the latter two really. It is more like reading Eudora Welty's House of Mirrors, or perhaps even the Bell Jar, but of course is written by a man and therefore never completely captures the feminine, as much as The Awakening is to Madame Bovary. Perhaps it is more of Lillian Hellman- in that I feel in reading anything by Lillian Hellman that the married women are trapped in their marriages with no way out and no real love felt any longer- as if one kiss of bliss and promise of romance is dashed into permanent sadness by that wedding ring.
I have to read such things in context. I cannot believe that marriage is a trap, nor that romance ends with the wedding ceremony. It is harder perhaps to focus all romantic efforts on one person alone- one's spouse- but I have felt the effort to be worthwhile. But I can certainly see where one might feel that way with the old lack of divorce laws or other cultural differences from as far ago as 20 years ago- and much worse only 100 years ago. I have read too many things about the treatment of women to ever wish to go back to live in the past.
Memoirs tickles my memory about watching Shogun, the miniseries that was on when I was a teen or so. So I have some lovely images of Japan. I've also read a small amount of manga. I know enough about Japanese culture to know I don't know very much at all, and would be very lost if I ever went there, and likely would stand out with my Rubenesque curves, chestnut hair and pale skin. Oh the round eyes don't hurt, but they look reassuringly brown. I can imagine how startling a blue-eyed geisha could be when I have seen anyone with blonde eyes. I would like to go, but I'm afraid of being confused and offending without intending to offer offense. I remember still being bewildered in Calais, with my meager half-a-year of schooling. I got on fine, but it was the first time I had looked at signs and could not read. I went with a New Yorker, who did not mind approaching people aggressively with "Do you speak English?" With each puzzled "no" or being ignored, I trailed along after in her wake, "Excusez, elle est Americaine," horribly embarassed. When I finished apologizing, she found someone and I was asked to interpret further. It was, how you say, very awkward. The French are a proud people, and I think the Japanese are just as proud. It would be hard.
I don't think Memoirs of A Geisha can be complete in its feeling of how and what geisha is. It is written by an American male, in American, for an American audience. The ending still felt wrong to me. I wanted her to be with Nobu at the end. And enjoy her time with Nobu. He was a kind man who loved her. Perhaps that would have been enough for me. While I could tell an attempt was made at being erotic, I found it more beautiful than erotic. There was little of the sensual or seduction in the story- it was more painting on bamboo than anything that would arrouse more of my senses. Perhaps it is because I am a female reading it, and perhaps I have too much of my own awful baggage, but too much of what it was essentially about left me cold and wincing in sympathy. And the "witty conversation" was more reminiscent of fraternity life. Bad memories, there.
No, I do not want to see the movie. I am better at reading awful things or discussing them, than I am at seeing them on a screen. I don't like the graphic details that modern movies tend to paint. There is more art in suggestion than there is in graphic portrayal.
On a different note, Tom came back from the vet again today. The hope of repairing his eye is dashed. We will have to watch it and see if it ever gets worse. If so, then he may have to have an operation and possibly an extraction. Hopefully, it never will get worse. Meanwhile, everyone is recovering slowly from the sniffles. Even me.