Review: Rivalry – A Geisha’s Tale March 28, 2012Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Foreign, Literature.
Tags: "book review", books, japan, japanese authors, japanese fiction, literature, nagai kafu, reading, rivalry: a geisha's tale
by Nagai Kafu
Rivalry tells the story of the return of Komayo to the world of the geisha. Her former patron Yoshioka seeks to ransom her, but Komayo has fallen in love with the actor Segawa. In order to be with Segawa, she seeks the patronage of a despicable character known to her as the “Sea Monster”.
In this tale you are shown the real world of the geisha versus the romanticized version as shown in “Memoirs of a Geisha“. Komayo not only doesn’t want to be ransomed to Yoshioka because of Segawa, she also fears he will grow tired of her and abandon her once his ardor cools. Her one dream is to set up her own geisha house and be self-sufficient.
The politics of the geisha world is intricate and complex yet Kafu makes it easy to understand. I found myself enthralled in this tale as its events unfolded. There was the competition of the other geisha; the jilted geisha that Yoshioka abandoned in favor of Komayo and the other geisha in Komayo’s house were vividly brought to life.
This is not only a tale of the rivalry of the geisha in the novel, it’s also a tale of the rivalry between Komayo’s suitors. The men in Komayo’s life weren’t romanticized. They were very realistic and had very human faults thus making this tale all the more believable. You could see them faltering, lusting, and conniving for position.
In the end, I enjoyed this book a lot and I wished I could have remained in the world of the geisha for a little longer.