Memoirs of a Geisha

Golden, Arthur. Memoirs of a Geisha. Vintage Contemporaries, Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc. (New York: 1997).

Memoirs of a GeishaWritten as if it were a memoir, this novel about a girl sold out of her home to be trained as a geisha is well crafted, imaginative, full of tension, and by turns funny and sad to the point of tears. For writers: The first person voice rings true throughout, with even the metaphors confined to the exotic but narrow world of this girl. The attention to historical detail is remarkable. But what impressed me most was how, even with extended interiority, this author made me want to keep turning the page. The tension is increased by how deep we go, as her personal stakes become ours.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime

Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Vintage Books (New York: 2003).

Curious Incident2Story of autistic Christopher’s quest to solve the suspicious death of the dog next door, which leads him to the deeper mystery of what happened to his own mother, all told from his point of view as an autistic boy. Intriguing and well done. For writers: Shows how much can be done with an inherently limited voice, without breaking character.