‘Memoirs Of A Geisha’: 8 Beautiful Quotes From The Novel

‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ was published 25 years ago. Part of what makes the novel so special, even today, is the beautiful writing within it.

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One of the books I read years ago that still sticks with me is Memoirs of a Geisha. This historical fiction novel written by Arthur Golden was published on September 27th, 1997, and follows the first-person perspective of Nitta Sayuri. Beginning when she is only nine years old, this story depicts the struggles that Sayuri faces during her life, particularly those on her path to becoming a geisha. In 2005, the novel was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film directed by Rob Marshall.

Memoirs of a Geisha‘s Most Memorable Quotes

Part of what makes Memoirs of a Geisha so special, even today, is the beautiful writing within it. So, without further ado, here are eight of my favorite quotes that truly showcase Golden’s brilliance.


He was like a song I’d heard once in fragments but had been singing in my mind ever since.


We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, going more or less in one direction until we splash into something that forces us to find a new course.


Every step I have taken, since I was that child on the bridge, has been to bring myself closer to you.


If a few minutes of suffering could make me so angry, what would years of it do? Even a stone can be worn down with enough rain.



At the temple there is a poem called “Loss” carved into the stone. It has three words, but the poet has scratched them out. You cannot read loss, only feel it.


Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.


This is why dreams can be such dangerous things: they smolder on like a fire does, and sometimes they consume us completely.


I don’t know when we’ll see each other again or what the world will be like when we do. We may both have seen many horrible things. But I will think of you every time I need to be reminded that there is beauty and goodness in the world.

For more historical fiction read suggestions, keep reading here.