Read Curtezana si samuraiul by Lesley Downer Online


Japonia, 1868: ultimul shogun a fost înfrânt, iar epoca împăraţilor va începe în curând. În nordul îngheţat, rămăşiţele armatei shogunului plănuiesc o ultimă bătălie disperată, la Hakodate, fără sorţi de izbândă însă. În vreme ce Hana fuge din calea soldaţilor împăratului, Yozo, tânăr şi curajos luptător fidel shogunului, e luat prizonier. Inspirată din fapte reale, o imprJaponia, 1868: ultimul shogun a fost înfrânt, iar epoca împăraţilor va începe în curând. În nordul îngheţat, rămăşiţele armatei shogunului plănuiesc o ultimă bătălie disperată, la Hakodate, fără sorţi de izbândă însă. În vreme ce Hana fuge din calea soldaţilor împăratului, Yozo, tânăr şi curajos luptător fidel shogunului, e luat prizonier. Inspirată din fapte reale, o impresionantă poveste de iubire pe fundalul unui an decisiv pentru istoria Japoniei, al războiului civil dintre nord (forţele shogunului) şi sud (forţele care sprijineau urcarea pe tron a împăratului), Curtezana şi samuraiul dezvăluie culisele unei lumi aflate într-un moment de profundă transformare, ce marchează începutul modernizării Ţării Soarelui-Răsare şi deschiderea ei spre Occident.Yoshiwara este vestitul cartier al plăcerilor din Tokyo, unde trăiesc trei mii de curtezane, o lume exotică în care singurul fruct oprit este dragostea. În 1868, Hana are doar şaptesprezece ani când ajunge aici, transformându-se spectaculos din soţia supusă şi devotată a comandantului Yamaguchi, un înflăcărat susţinător al shogunului, într-o adevărată curtezană, frumoasa şi talentata Hanaogi. Când soţul ei plecase la război, Hana primise o singură sarcină: să supravieţuiască. Urmărită de soldaţii din sud, care îi atacaseră casa şi îi omorâseră socrii, se refugiază în Yoshiwara, o lume din care întâi va încerca să evadeze, ca apoi să-i rămână captivă. Resemnată cu noua ei viaţă, Hana îl întâlneşte pe Yozo, un samurai marinar în flota shogunului care, întors în Japonia după un număr de ani petrecuţi în Apus, îşi dă seama că lumea atât de familiară lui e pe cale de dispariţie. Împreună, cei doi vor încerca să descopere dacă dragostea îi poate ajuta să şteargă traumele unui trecut dureros, deşi acesta pare să îi ajungă din urmă....

Title : Curtezana si samuraiul
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9789736896620
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Curtezana si samuraiul Reviews

  • Tara Chevrestt
    2018-09-19 08:11

    I wanted to like this book. After all, I preordered it a year ago and waited and waited waited for it to grace my mailbox... so it's with some disappointment that I write this.The Courtesan is Hana. In the beginning her husband is leaving for war and she wields a sword to defend her home. I thought, "Oh goody, a chick with balls!" Not really... She is terribly naive and ends up permitting some strange woman to sell her into prostitution. And well... I'm all for making the most of a bad situation, but this chick ends up actually liking her new profession. I didn't like this partly because I don't like the damsel in distress bit and partly because I think the whole geisha thing is overdone. The Samurai is Yozo. His parts are full of ships sinking, war strategies, and fights. Basically: testosterone. Naturally, his parts didn't interest me all that much. Nevertheless: my number one complaint: This was supposed to be a forbidden romance. I picked this up hoping for something along the lines of The Scarlet Kimono. However, the Courtesan and Samurai don't even meet until page 295! Just not for me.

  • Michelle
    2018-10-17 03:04

    I had my doubts about this book to begin with because the title is a little cheesy but let me reassure you, its a beautiful gem of a holiday read!I wasnt able to put it down and found myself entranced by two aspects of Lesley Downer's creativity.First of all she writes beautifully - it is so easy to read and the way she describes situations, conditions, nature, forces of nature, human nature etc were just so spot on for me and done in a beautiful manner. I knew also from the beginning that this lady had really done her research and knew her subject well. She wrote with great skill and confidence and wound a story around some factual events and people which to me was so brilliant. Downer truely captured the essence of the time and era : Japan during a civil war in the late 1900's.The story centres around two individuals : a hero and heroine I would say in the form of Yozo and Hana. The book is set over a period of winter,spring, summer and autumn and follows the characters in their quest to stay alive and find happiness. I wasnt able to put the book down and will definitely be reading more of Ms Downers accomplishments in the coming future days.

  • George
    2018-10-16 06:33

    After reading Lesley Downer's other works, I found the Courtesan and the Samurai rather disappointing. The novel isn't bad- it's clearly been well researched and there are some exciting parts, but to me, the storyline seemed weak and the characters and certain plots weren't as well developed as they could have been. My main criticism is that the novel felt rather rushed or a bit too sparse- there was a lot of potential there and aspects I would have liked to hear more about. Leads and suggestions in the story were dropped with little or no resolution, and the relationship between Hana and Yozo began unconvincingly quickly, which lessened the emotional impact later in the book. Unfortunately, Downer's fiction does not match the standard of her factual works, but thankfully her knowledge of Japan saves what would otherwise be a rather dire read.

  • fenrir
    2018-10-12 03:14

    2.5/5Deludente. Ammetto di avere un debole per i "romanzi storici" ambientati in Giappone, ma questo di storico ha davvero pochissimo. La narrazione di Yozo è lenta e noiosa, ed in alcuni punti troppo prevedibile (il marito di Hana che ritorna anche se tutti lo davano per morto è un'uscita da Harmony). Per quanto riguarda Hana non mi è piaciuta e non mi ha convinto.Non critico il fatto che si sia dovuta vendere, infondo aveva poche alternative soprattutto dopo essere stata venduta, ma è fastidioso il fatto che continui ad essere descritta ed a considerarsi lei stessa come diversa dalle altre e "pura" quando di sicuro è tutto tranne che innocente.Finale scontato poi, speravo in qualcosa di meglio.

  • Tocotin
    2018-10-04 06:18

    I liked the book for the subject matter (Yoshiwara, the most famous of Japan's pleasure quarters), but less for the story and research, or rather for the impact the research has had on the story. No, I don't think that in a novel, even in a historical one, everything has to be accurate in order for the reader to enjoy it. Yet, the choices of a particular time and place do affect the story, and often force the writer to make specific plot decisions. I mean "force" in a challenging way, like having characters choose a more likely course of action, or a less anachronistic reaction to some situations. I believe that this is actually what produces twists and surprises in historical fiction.The story in The Courtesan and the Samurai is as follows: in the period of anarchy between the fall of the last shogun and Meiji Restoration, the young samurai wife Hana, whose husband is fighting on the shogun's (losing) side, learns that all her family is dead. She has to leave her house and look for protection at the address her husband had given her before he left. But the place is deserted and Hana has nowhere to go. She is found by a procuress and sold to Yoshiwara, where she becomes the most famous lady of the night. Here she meets a young samurai named Yozo, who had fought alongside her husband and killed him (or so he thinks). They fall in love, Hana is rescued from an impossibly repulsive suitor who bought her contract, Yozo gets to kill her husband again when the latter returns to his unfaithful - therefore deserving to die - wife, and all ends well.Yozo (a fictional character) is one of fifteen young samurai (not fictional) who had been sent to the West by the shogunate to learn Western ways. Yet, he is way less Westernized than Hana. He shoots the Commander (Hana's abusive husband, a character based loosely on Hijikata Toshizo of Shinsengumi fame) to avenge his friend Kitaro, he dreads Hana's reaction to his confession, he has doubts whether he should choose Hana over his comrades. She on the other hand - a samurai wife and daughter - has almost no qualms about her choices. She leaves the house to an infirm old man and a maid and does not give them a thought until much later. She lets the panderer Fuyu sell her to Yoshiwara, protects very feebly, then... I don't really know, the way it is described, she treats her life in Yoshiwara as a sort of a luxurious game. But the really monstrous thing is her reaction to Yozo's confession: not only she doesn't mind his killing her husband, but the thought of revenge doesn't even cross her mind. Or Yozo's, for that matter.Lesley Downer's previous novel set in the same period, The Last Concubine, was so good because the heroine Sachi had her doubts about succumbing to her love - and she wasn't even a wife, she was a concubine of a dead man. Hana is a woman born to be a vassal to her husband, responsible to his clan, bound to avenge his death. I certainly don't think she couldn't have hated him or wish him dead, far from that. She could have behaved like she did, even. But the thought of her duty - killing Yozo - would certainly have occurred to both of them, be it as the furthest of possibilities. For the story to be concluded as it is, she and Yozo both would have to be different persons: she more ruthless and cunning, he much more cynical and wise.Here's where the story crumbles. Well, I guess it is a minor thing, if all one wants is a romance with some Oriental scenery. So, all right. Sadly I read on. Then I thought about the very situation in which Hana was sold to the Corner Tamaya (the brothel). The woman who sold her, Fuyu, who is a pawnbroker's servant, happened to pick her up on the street, then brought her to Yoshiwara. Then bang, Hana was sold, and every once in a while there would be some talking about her debt. I couldn't understand why. Who was that Fuyu woman to her, anyway? What was her claim on Hana? She wasn't even a professional procuress. Why would she sell her to Yoshiwara, and not to one of the dozens of other pleasure quarters in Edo? And if the Corner Tamaya was as great an establishment as it was shown to be, they would have cooperated with a professional.Maybe they somehow knew Hana wouldn't have protested too much. It seemed as if she couldn't really decide if she liked her new life or not. One moment she basked in the attention and splendor, then she moaned about the loss of her "freedom". It is true that many samurai women at that time were left without means for a living, or they sold themselves to brothels in order to help their families, and that no one can tell what they really felt, but life in Yoshiwara would be one of luxury for women from very poor backgrounds, not for Hana, and even then it was quite hard.For a courtesan so popular as Hana was (why exactly had she became so famous, I couldn't understand), she certainly had a lot of time to wander around, visit Otsune (why not just Tsune? why not Ohana, then?), let Yozo lounge in her parlor and stuff. There was no mention of anything unpleasant, of irregularity of life, short nights, lots of alcohol, daily gynecological inspections, scarce meals. It was all prancing about in glittery kimonos. Again, I'm sure there were women who enjoyed that life, as I would want them to, but it wasn't the life described in the book. There were some great moments - the courtesans' procession, the rooms, the final party, and above all the devastated Edo/Tokyo. There were good details of Yoshiwara life: servants, geishas, streets, food, clothes and hairstyles. Then the whole Saburosuke business... I know I'm talking too much, but OMG! Why oh why must the villain be fat, foulmouthed, foolish and filthy? Does it even feel satisfying for the good guys, to defeat such a pathetic puppet? And most definitely he would not be as revered in Yoshiwara as he was, despite all his wealth. Yes, Yoshiwara was evil and all about money, but Yoshiwara was also a part of Edo, and Edo people took pride in their good taste, which had to accompany generosity. All right, a minor thing, but why oh why?The pace of the story was good, although I didn't care for the Hokkaido parts and only waited for the parts with Hana, and she and Yozo met quite late in the book. I liked Otsune and maybe Yozo a little bit. Of course the husband was crazy and evil, his family too. Tama, the leading courtesan, would be likable if not for her total benevolence towards her rival Hana. I'd have liked Kaoru, who was kind of Hana's enemy, but there was too little of her.Now, I think I'll reread The Last Concubine or something. I don't know. The Courtesan and the Samurai was definitely better paced and more interesting as a whole. Or maybe it's the Yoshiwara thing. Ah.

  • laipeen
    2018-10-03 10:15

    Initially I thought the first half of the book dragged on for a while. The connection between the two main protagonists was also not well developed as it started only in the 2nd half of the book. However, the afterword made me appreciate the book and its slow development and I understood why the author described certain scenes as lengthily as she did. It would help if some of the important information in the afterword was placed at the start of the story; that way, the readers would be able to appreciate why she wrote it that way. Many key scenes and parts of the story were true events; some of the characters are also based on real people who lived and were involved in the Northerner's struggle to reinstate the shogun.

  • Anika
    2018-10-06 06:07

    Inhalt:Japan, 1868:Als der der Gatte der jungen Hana in den Krieg zieht ahnt sie noch nicht, dass ihr Leben sich komplett ändern wird. Denn schon bald muss sie aus ihrem Haus flüchten, als es angegriffen wird und alles hinter sich lassen.Doch wo soll sie hin? Ihre Familie ist tot und durch den Rang ihres Mannes ist sie ein gern gesehenes Opfer für die Krieger aus dem Süden Japans.So kommt es, dass Hana in Yoshiwara landet, dem Vergnügungsviertel bei Tokio. Doch das Leben, dass sie dort erwartet macht ihr Angst und sie muss viel lernen, um nicht vor Kummer um zu kommen.Auch den Samurai Yozo verschlägt es nach einer Schlacht nach Yoshiwara. Und dort trifft er auf Hana und wird sofort von ihr verzaubert. Doch Hana ist eine Kurtisane und darf sich nicht einfach in die Arme eines jeden Mannes begeben, der nicht für sie bezahlen kann.Persönliche Meinung:Eine japanische Geschichte und das noch im 19. Jahrhundert. Diese Kombination musste einfach gut sein.Als mich das Buch vom erreichte, habe ich sofort zu lesen begonnen und war gleich begeistert. Der Schreibstil der Autorin ist einfach klasse. Die Geschichte liest sich wirklich gut und man fliegt nur so durch die Seiten.Die Protagonistin Hana habe ich gleich in mein Herz geschlossen. Die Frauen hatten es damals wirklich nicht leicht und ich habe alle Frauen nur bewundert, die mir während des lesens begegnet sind. Natürlich ist das nur ein Buch, ja. Aber man weiß ja, dass es damals wirklich so war und es ist einfach jedes mal immer wieder schockierend, wenn man das so vor Augen geführt bekommt.Zu Beginn ist Hana noch sehr schüchtern. Sie hat Angst vor ihrem Mann. Als sie flüchten muss ist sie verzweifelt und leichtgläubig. So landet sie schließlich in Yoshiwara und soll Kurtisane werden.Für alle die, die jetzt nicht so viel mit den Begriffen anfangen können etc., Kurtisanen sind quasi Prostituierte. Sie sind dem Haus in dem sie angestellt sind verpflichtet und müssen dort mit den Männern schlafen, die dafür bezahlen. Anders also, als bei den Geishas, die ja nur für die Unterhaltung der Männer zuständig sind. Kurtisanen müssen irgendwann von ihrem Haus freigekauft werden von einem so genannten Gönner, mir dem sie dann eine Verbindung eingehen müssen. So einmal ganz grob erklärt.Hana ist natürlich nicht ganz freiwillig Kurtisane geworden, hat aber auch keine große Wahl und lernt mit der Zeit, damit um zu gehen. Sie macht eine unglaubliche Entwicklung durch, dennoch schimmert immer wieder durch, dass sie tief im Herzen noch sehr zerbrechlich ist. Und das mag ich an Hana einfach sehr. Eine starke Frau, aber sie hat auch noch ihre Schwächen.Unser zweiter Protagonist ist der Samurai Yozo. Mit ihm ziehen wir gemeinsam in den Bürgerkrieg. Ich muss zugeben, diese Kapitel über den Krieg haben mir weniger gefallen. Sie sind wirklich spannend geschrieben und sehr lehrreich, Und auch Yozo ist toll. Aber es ist einfach nicht so meins.Dennoch war es ok, denn die Kapitel sind nicht lang und wechseln sich auch immer mit den Kapiteln über Hana ab.Auch wusste ich bisher gar nichts von diesem Krieg und war doch sehr erstaunt und dankbar, dass ich mein Wissen wieder erweitern konnte.Leider wird auf dem Rückentext des Buches schon ziemlich viel verraten von der Geschichte, was ich ein wenig schade fand. Das Ende war dennoch für mich überraschend. Warum, müsst ihr am besten selbst raus finden.Empfehlenswert ist hier auch das Nachwort, in dem geschrieben wird, was an der Geschichte tatsächlich Realität ist und welche Figuren es wirklich gab. Und das ist schon einiges. Finde ich super. Geschichtliche Hintergründe sind hier jedenfalls einige vorhanden und laden dazu ein, sich näher mit dem Thema zu beschäftigen.Die Autorin Lesley Downer ist eine Japan-Expertin und hat dies auch in ihrem Buch wunderbar umgesetzt. Sie war selbst lange in Japan und hat sich sogar zur Geisha ausbilden lassen.Fazit und Bewertung:Eine schöne Geschichte, die einen viel lehrt und trotzdem leicht zu lesen ist. Die Protagonisten schließt man schnell ins Herz und gerade auch deswegen haben mich bestimmte Szenen sehr berührt und vor allem nachdenklich gestimmt, Allein die Kriegsszenen haben mich ein klein wenig gestört. Sie sind aber natürlich für den Verlauf der Geschichte und der Entwicklung der Charaktere unglaublich wichtig!Eine Liebesgeschichte ist natürlich vorhanden, allerdings nicht sehr aufdringlich.

  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    2018-09-30 05:23

    ‘We need to look to the future, not back at the past.’This novel is set in 1868/69, during the period of civil war (known as the Meiji Restoration) between the shogunate forces (the northerners) and the imperial Japanese forces (the southerners).The novel’s protagonist, Hana, is seventeen when her husband, a commander in the Northern Alliance, leaves her to go to war. Hana is the daughter of a samurai, and her duty as a samurai wife is clear. The northerners are losing, and when the southerners attack her home and she is unable to defend it she flees for her life across the shattered city of Edo (later renamed Tokyo). Hana is first helped, and then sold, by a procuress to become a courtesan in the five streets of the Yoshiwara.Yozo Tajima returns to Japan after four years in the West, just in time to find the world he left behind in the last throes of destruction. He is captured while travelling north to rejoin his comrades, but escapes and makes his way to the Yoshiwara. Here he meets Hana, and they fall in love. They are, it appears, fated to be together but there are certain obstacles to overcome first. I enjoyed this novel, more for the rich historical detail than the actual love story between Yozo and Hana. I know little about this period of Japanese history and found this aspect of the novel quite absorbing. The details of the lives of courtesans in Yoshiwara were intriguing, as was Yozo’s story as one of a number of Japanese who spent time in the west.Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  • Diana Trăncău
    2018-10-16 05:13

    Cartea asta m-a dus cu gândul la „Memoriile unei gheișe”. Hana e o ființă așa firavă și naivă și totuși mă bucură faptul că a dovedit că are într-adevăr suflet de samurai, atât la început, cât și la sfârșit. Citind ultimele pagini am stat ca pe ace cu gândul că va pieri precum o floare smulsă cu brutalitate, însă temerile nu mi-ai fost întemeiate, căci totul s-a sfârșit cu bine. Am rămas cu un zâmbet întipărit pe buze.

  • Tikali
    2018-10-11 06:30

    Eine schöne aber nicht allzu tiefgründige Handlung, die ins alte Japan zu Kriegszeiten führt.Die Szenerie finde ich gut beschrieben, doch der Ausgang der Spannungsbögen waren mir zu vorhersehbar.Dennoch war es ein angenehmes Vergnügen das Buch zu lesen. :)

  • Jodie
    2018-09-21 10:29

    Book ReviewTitle: The Courtesan and the SamuraiAuthor: Lesley DownerGenre: Romance/Cultural/HistoricalRating: ****Review: “The Courtesan and the Samurai” is the second book in a series of historical fiction by Lesley Downer set in 1860s Japan. This novel is set in 1868-9, a particularly turbulent year, covering the civil war between the shogunate forces, or “northerners,” and the imperial Japanese forces, or “southerners” as the two sides are simply called in the novel. This period is usually known as the Meiji Restoration.Written from the point of the losing side in the civil war, the protagonist here is Hana, a 17-year-old daughter of a samurai married to one of the fiercest commanders of the ex-shogun’s forces of the Northern Alliance. The last shogun, Yoshinobu had resigned at the end of 1867, under duress from the Mikado’s councillors and the Southern clans.Hana’s marriage is based on Confucian patriarchal ideals. She is expected to obey her husband as she would a father, or even a sovereign. Her husband is not expected to love her, or to particularly treat her kindly. But, like a good samurai, she is trained to fight. While her husband goes to rally forces for the Northern Alliance, she is given the task of being the sole defender of her household in Edo. And when the southerners come to the gates of her residence, she promptly kills one of them with a halberd and escapes at the behest of her servants across the river towards Nihonbashi, or Japan Bridge. There she is sold by a procuress to become a courtesan in Edo’s licensed quarters, the “five streets” of the Yoshiwara.Hana has read about these quarters in the romantic fiction, ‘The Plum Calendar’ but she has never yet visited. Downer’s descriptions of life in the walled enclave of the Yoshiwara (established by the shogunate as a way of controlling prostitution), are a tour de force of literary dramatisation. Downer has previously written about the Yoshiwara in her book ‘Geisha: The Secret History of a Vanishing World’ (2000), a history of the customs of Japanese courtesans and geisha. In her talk for this book’s launch the author provided a rare glimpse of her visit to the courtesans in Kyoto in the 1990s:“There are five women who still uphold the traditions of courtesan, they are not the same as geisha, but they occupy the same world of the flower and the willow,” she said. Courtesans are high-class prostitutes, whereas geisha are women who sell their arts and social skills. Hana is equipped with the ability to write poetry, and so quickly promoted to being a star courtesan, given the honorific title “Hanaogi.”In her talk, Downer described the awesome appearance of a courtesan (a ‘re-enactor’ in this day and age) dressed in many layers of kimono, escorted by child attendants, with a head of lacquered hair pinned together with tortoiseshell combs. She described the “electric” atmosphere among the men on this occasion, who were all lining up for an audience. The scene is recreated in the book when Hana appears in a cage along with her companions. During this viewing she is meant to pick out a man to be her lover. Outdoor scenes of this can also be seen in Utagawa Hiroshige’s prints.The year that Downer chose to portray the life of a courtesan is crucial. At this time, courtesans were still sought after by the elite, but very shortly after, geisha women, partners of the new ruling Imperial elite installed in the newly named Tokyo, were elevated to higher social status. A few years later, the old Yoshiwara was burned down and then moved. Interestingly there are no photographs of the old Yoshiwara. It is as though Downer has chosen a period just beyond our reach to create a lavish world of high romance.The other half of this story of star-crossed lovers is seen through the eyes of Yozo Tajima, a samurai sailor, fighting on the side of the Northern Alliance, serving the historical figure of Admiral Enomoto, of the ex-shogun’s navy. Both have recently returned from an expedition to the West licensed by the shogun. Part of their mission there is to build and bring back a warship, the Kaiyo Maru (which was later sunk). But on their return, they are appalled to find shogun has in fact resigned but Enomoto refuses to hand over the navy to the southern Imperial forces. Instead he is motivated by a mix of loyalty to the previous regime and idealism gained from his exposure to the more democratic ways of the West, to lead the Northern Alliance to Ezo, present-day Hokkaido. From there, the Northern Alliance “will establish the Democratic Republic of Ezo in the name of the shogun with Hakodate as our capital and from there move South and take the rest of Japan,” as Downer has him proclaim.The army of the Northern Alliance, is here led by Commander Yamaguchi, a fictional figure based on the formidable leader of the shinsengumi (the ‘new select corps’), Toshizō Hijikata. His story is cleverly woven into Downer’s tale of star-crossed lovers. This army included crack troops some of whom had been trained by the French to protect the shogun before he resigned. Thus, historically, nine French officers sailed with the Japanese including Jean Marlin, who features in the novel as Yozo’s friend and supporter.Downer imaginatively recreates the internal tensions of such a dynamic mix of personalities. Yamaguchi turns out to be bitterly opposed to the foreign-leaning Enomoto and Yozo, who is so adept at languages that not only has he read Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species, but he also sings an English sea shanty to entertain the troops. When Kitaro, a friend of Yozo is murdered mysteriously by one of Yamaguchi’s men, Yozo is motivated to take revenge for his friend’s death.The defeat of the Northern Alliance at Hakodate gives Yozo the opportunity to take his chance at revenge but Enomoto, Yozo and his French protector Marlin, are eventually captured and brought back to Edo. They escape to the Yoshiwara, where Hana is preparing for her ‘debut’ or ‘mizuage’. Once a courtesan attracted a wealthy patron who would arrange for her mizuage, she could escape her debts and leave the Yoshiwara. So when the wealthy merchant Saburosuké Kashima catches sight of Hana, her fate is sealed, or is it? The pièce de resistance here is the mizuageitself, a grotesque affair where the odious merchant Saburosuké meets his match at last in a manner appropriate to this exaggerated world – gaudy, lascivious and grotesque.There is a symbolic ending for the other characters too. Yozo and Enomoto survive, their skills needed in the new Japan. Meanwhile the old-style samurai Yamaguchi is killed, and in fact Hijikata died at Hakodate. Without such inspiring and entertaining books to draw our attention to it, Japan’s less well-known history of the 1860s might be in danger of going the way of the Kaiyo Maru herself.

  • Varda Elentári
    2018-09-22 05:32

    Lo cierto es que no esperaba grandes cosas de este libro. Nada más leyendo la sinopsis sabía perfectamente qué me iba a encontrar, y como nunca he sido una gran amante de la novela romántica per se, no tenía demasiadas expectativas con respecto a esta novela. Así que, ¿qué decir de ella?En general está bien. Tiene una lectura muy fácil y los capítulos son cortos, lo que agiliza el proceso y hace que prácticamente te comas el libro en muy pocos días. Eso es algo que agradezco mucho de esta literatura que, como ya he dicho, no es precisamente mi predilecta. Aunque la historia no es especialmente complicada ni tiene grandes giros argumentales, está bien; sí que me recordaba a Memorias de un geisha en cuanto a la idea general de 'muchacha vendida para servir y trabajar deleitando a los hombres', aunque el trasfondo es bastante diferente (más duro, más oscuro en algunos sentidos), pues una geisha no es lo mismo que una cortesana (como llaman amablemente en este libro a las prostitutas del Yoshiwara). La ambientación del barrio de Yoshiwara es bastante chula y puedes visualizarla claramente en tu cabeza mientras Hana recorre sus calles. Sus partes me parecieron las más interesantes -todo el funcionamiento del barrio, la vida de una cortesana, etc-, al contrario de las de Yozo, que me resultaron un tanto tediosas. Quizás será porque la vida militar y los barcos no son lo mío. Sí me desconcertó a nivel histórico, pues había muchas cosas que desconocía de lo sucesivo a la Restauración Meiji, y eso me gustó, que la investigación sobre la época estuviese trabajada y detallada lo suficiente. Los personajes, tanto los principales como los secundarios, están bien, aunque no me he sentido especialmente identificada ni apegada a ninguno de ellos; quizás porque no profundiza mucho en ellos, ya que el libro es bastante corto, y eso es una pega, como la impresión que he tenido de que todo se apresura demasiado al final. Creo que podría haberlo resuelto mejor y que el libro podría haber sido mejor en general, pero si lo que quieres es distraerte unos cuantos días, este libro es el adecuado, entonces.

  • Ananko-san
    2018-09-30 06:19

    Ich habe lange vor diesem Buch gestanden und wollte es unbedingt haben. Allein schon der Titel hat in mir Assoziationen wachgerufen, die mir gesagt haben, das wird ein geniales Buch und auch die Kurzbeschreibung klang in meinen Ohren sehr vielversprechend. Außerdem war mir auch die Autorin ein durchaus positivbehafteter Begriff. Vielleicht aus genau diesen Gründen und auf der Tatsache basierend, dass ich sehr hohe Erwartungen an dieses Buch hatte, bin ich schwer entäuscht worden.Die Charaktere waren -meiner Meinung nach- wandelnde Stereotype. Die Handlung leider auch. Sie war vorhersehbar und erfüllte so ziemlich jedes Cliché. Mir fallen nur wenige Dinge aus dieser Kiste jetzt noch fehlen ein. Außer vielleicht noh Hochzeit und Kind. Aber egal.Gut gefallen hat mir die Sprache. Sie war angemessen. Leider wurden teilweise Begriffe in den Raum geworfen, mit denen "normale" Leser nicht unbedingt etwas anfangen können und die dann auch nicht, oder nur unzureichend erklärt werden. Das hat mich besonders gestört, da ich um meine Wissenslücken aufzufüllen immer abbrechen musste, um dann die Informationen nachzuschlagen. Mir hat das die Lesefreude deutlich getrübt.Ich hätte eine etwas bildreichere Sprache noch passender für die angestrebten Wirkung und Wahrnehmung des Buches gefunden.Wirklich gut war meiner Meinung nach die Recherche für dieses Buch. Allerdings ist das in meinr Auffassung auch selbstverständlich für einen guten Historienroman. Ganz nebenbei flossen hier interessante geschichtliche Fakten mit ein. Das hat mir wirklich gut gefallen. Nichts desto trotz fand ich das Buch eher mau. Das Geld hätte ich auch anderweitig investieren können und nochmal lesen wrde ih diesen Roman in näherer Zukunft wohl auch nicht.

  • Tallianna Vanamee
    2018-09-18 04:27

    Enttäuschend und langatmigWährend der Bürgerkrieg in Japan tobt und die Meiji-Ära eingeleitet wird muss Hana aus ihrem Zuhause fliehen, da ihr Mann auf der falschen Seite steht. Ihr bleibt nur die Flucht nach Yoshiwara, ein Vergnügungsviertel. Sie steigt rasch zur begehrtesten Kurtisane auf. Sie begegnet dem Samurai Yozo, der im Krieg ebenfalls zu den Verlierern gehörte, und beide fühlen sich sofort zueinander hingezogen. Doch eine Kurtisane darf sich nicht verlieben…Das Buch ist großartig recherchiert, soweit ich das Beurteilen kann, und spiegelt die Verhältnisse zu dieser Zeit gut wieder. Der Schreibstil ist angenehm wortgewandt und schön zu lesen.Allerdings wird dieses Buch als „Liebesroman“ geführt, die „Liebenden“ treffen sich allerdings erst nach etwa zwei Dritteln des Buches. Davor muss man seitenlange Beschreibungen von Landschaften, Kimonos und dem Krieg über sich ergehen lassen, die die Geschichte sehr langatmig wirken lassen. Ich habe dieses Buch mit der Erwartung gelesen, eine Liebesgeschichte zu bekommen und das ist es meiner Meinung nach nicht. Als Hana und Yozo sich endlich treffen, ist das Buch fast vorbei, bis überhaupt etwas passiert. Dann nimmt das Tempo der Erzählung rasend schnell zu und wenige Seiten später ist der Roman zu Ende.Das Buch würde besser als historischer Roman mit romantischem Einschlag verkauft und nicht als Liebesroman, denn das weckt falsche Vorstellungen beim Leser. Ich bin wirklich etwas enttäuscht von diesem Buch. Trotzdem drei Sterne, weil es gut recherchiert und sauber geschrieben ist.

  • Amy
    2018-10-02 04:07

    3.5 Stars. This was hard to get through. It had a lot of potential, and while it had a lot of wonderful information about Japan and it's traditions and culture, much like her other book The Last Concubine, which I did enjoy, though it shared some of the same issues. Unfortunately it also had a lot of dead spots and slow moving spaces. For me there was too much about the war and war fare, I see how it all adds up in the end, but I was looking more of the courtesan and her life. And it's not until well over 2/3rd's of the book that the lovers finally meet. I switched between an ebook and unabridged audio book, and don't think I would have stuck with it other wise. When it was good it was good, the descriptions of the brothel life, clothing, the bonding of the girls and their habits, but could have been much shorter all around. A little more depth placed around Hana and her past than on battles and such. Probably won't be a reread, but might be a re-listen on a bad night to help me sleep. The reader was great really made it come alive, with a comfortable voice to listen to, though I found her pronunciation of Samurai odd. She did a good job at differentiating the voices, though some interesting accent choices for the Northern Japanese at some points, almost Scot like!

  • The Basic Bookworm
    2018-10-15 06:08

    At the age of seventeen, Hana is expected to lead a life of a demure wife; however, due to a civil war sweeping over Japan, Hana’s husband must leave her to fight for the shogun. Alone and vulnerable, Hana’s household comes under attack by enemy soldiers, and is forced to flee. Seeking refuge in the Yoshiwara, Hana is suddenly sold and forced to train as a courtesan. During her time as a courtesan, Hana meets Yozo, an ally fugitive, and provides him with shelter. When an influential gangster attempts to buy Hana, she and Yozo must find a way to escape for their lives. The Courtesan and the Samurai by Lesley Downer is a historical fiction novel that focuses on the Japanese civil war in 1868, and contains a hint of romance. This is the second time I have read this novel, and I have enjoyed it far more this time around.The characters and their surrounding were described so well that I felt as though I was right there with them. I really enjoyed reading about the Yoshiwara, and wished that the novel focused a bit more on that. I really enjoyed reading it, and found it very absorbing.For my full review, please follow the link:

  • Rachel
    2018-09-20 10:16

    Certain parts, like with Hana and the Courtesans she interacted with was fun to read as was the exciting fight scenes with the love interest. I did find myself daydreaming away through some parts with the whole wad of useless information or seemingly endless battle strategies. The ending I found slightly disappointing. I guess after all the excitement and the rich environment that they left behind the lovely dovey rubbish just couldn't get a reaction from me. I also wasn't surprised when someone shows up again, although I had imagined that Hana would have face her biggest fear and fought, even if she was going to die because she isn't as skilled. I guess I didn't like the fact that it was a man who had to be the thing to spark her desire to live and not her own possible freedom had she won the fight. We knew she could fight, she's a samurai wife for heavens sake, so you'd think after all the changes she went though and how comfortable she became in herself that she'd put up more of a fight.

  • Angela
    2018-10-18 08:12

    Un po' banale la storia, con "concidenze" leggermente forzate, ma riesce comunque ad essere una lettura piacevole. Si vede chiaramente che l'autrice si intende di cultura e storia giapponesi. Gli avvenimenti che fanno da sfondo alla storia di Hana e Yozo sono storicamente accaduti, seppur aggiustati un poco per far filare il romanzo coi suoi personaggi fittizi. Non ci sono dubbi che ci sia stato uno studio accurato della Downer prima di cominciare a scrivere il romanzo.

    2018-09-19 08:16

    Lesley Downer s-a născut la Londra și a crescut într-o casă plină de cărți despre cultura și civilizația Asiei care i-au servit mai apoi drept inspirație și imbold pentru continuarea studiilor în Japonia. Aici rămâne timp de cinsprezece ani și se documentează pentru numeroasele cărți dedicate Țării Soarelui-Răsare.Curtezana și samuraiul este doar una dintre operele care dezvăluie lumea exotică a gheișelor, alături de Madame Sadayakko: The Gheisha who Seduced the West (biografia actriței japoneze care a inspirat povestea operei Madame Butterfly de Puccini) și Ultima concubină.Romanul porneşte acţiunea în anul 1868, într-o Japonie sfâşiată de un război civil care zguduie din temelii orânduiala clasică a lucrurilor. Ultimul shogun este învins şi soarele abia răsare asupra epocii împăraţilor. Schimbările de ordin politic sunt redate pe două planuri paralele care ajung să se întretaie printr-o frumoasă poveste de iubire dintre un samurai și o gheișă.Continuarea recenziei o găsești aici

  • Michelle Kor
    2018-10-03 11:24

    I picked up this book because of the title and of course the summary. And the mysterious cover. I guess I started reading books like this since 'The Memoirs of a Geisha' (definitely worth reading!). However, this book disappoint me as it wasn't as good as The Memoirs of a Geisha and the real romance story only came in in the middle of the book. Somewhere in the middle, the main character actually started to like her profession as a courtesan. And the way the author wrote the story is great but I somehow felt like skipping the part when the war talks came in. And it's pretty obvious that the Commander was actually Hanna's husband.I was glad when I finally finished reading. It was an okay book, but not a book I would read twice.

  • Crysalis
    2018-09-28 07:25

    Un piccolo gustoso capolavoro di storia giapponese.La storia si svolge all'inizio dell'era Meiji, tra Yoshiwara - una famosa "città nella città" del piacere alle porte di Edo/Tokyo - e l'isola di Ezo (l'isola di Hokkaido ai giorni nostri), tra una guerra tra i più "civilizzati" uomini del sud e i più tradizionali uomini del nord, e una donna, Hana, moglie di un samurai, che si ritrova a diventare una delle più rinomate cortigiane del quartiere.Un libro delizioso, alla rinnovata scoperta dei usi e costumi dei quartieri del piacere in Giappone, e che porta a conoscenza di un'interessante e, per me, sconosciuta, fetta della storia giapponese.

  • Saria Hendrick
    2018-10-11 05:18

    Me gustan las novelas con un toque de historia. Refleja mucho la sociedad japonesa a finales de la era Tokugawa. He leído reviews del libro y muchos se fueron con la finta de que es una novela de amor pero no es así. Su narrativa tiene dos enfoques: Hana, una abnegada esposa de un Samurai que por situaciones de guerra se ve obligada a ser cortesana y de Yozo, un Samurai fugitivo del ejército del shogunato. Si bien hubo un punto en el que la novela me desesperó con la escritura en primera persona, se vuelve interesante a medida en que ambas historias se relacionan.

  • Lisanne
    2018-10-10 03:27

    This was a disappointment compared to the previous two books I've read in this series, especially the beginning of the book. I just couldn't get through it. It felt like a task whenever I opened the book, and I almost didn't finish it because of it. But since I just can't DNF a book, I continued. It's an okay story, not overwhelming, but enjoyable. I just expected more of it, mostly because I thought the others were good, and because it sounded interesting. Sadly it wasn't as good as I expected.

  • Simcsa
    2018-10-10 10:22

    The book is named The Courtesan and the Samurai, still it takes more than a half of the book (if you want the exact numbers it's 62,5%) for them to meet and a couple of pages to fall in love. Combined with a boring start and melodramatic in-the-last-second ending, I can't give it more than two stars. If you want a good japan historical book with a love story at its midst I recommend you to go for The Last Concubine instead.

  • kagami
    2018-10-12 06:12

    Japanese setting with a Western story and Western body language, but not bad. The period immediately after the Meiji restoration is a bit of a gray area for me, so it was interesting to get a tiny glimpse of it here. I can't say I learned a huge amount about the historical period as a whole but the descriptions of life in the pleasure district of Yoshiwara sounded quite convincing. I really enjoyed the brief non-fictional afterward at the end of the book and I have a feeling it might be worth reading Lesley Downer's documentary works about geisha in Kyoto.

  • Megha
    2018-09-19 03:31

    If you have read the Memoirs of a Geisha and then you are reading this, well, it is not up to the mark. To be honest, I shouldn't be comparing this work to a master piece, but then....The writing in feeble. There are just too many characters and too many incidents are happening along and all being so damn predictable, that I got bored with it. All in all, not a bad book, but not a great book either.

  • ✿ Jenna ✿
    2018-10-11 06:09

    《Like the pine and the chrysanthemum that bloomed in winter when other flowers had died, a courtesan's charms endured for ever.》Once again Lesley Downer proves to be one of my favorite authors EVER.I don't even know why this book's ratings are so low, honestly.The accuracy of the facts that are told, the details and the story itself totally mesmerized me.Two thumbs up!!

  • Sian Lewis
    2018-10-18 09:27

    This is the second novel of Lesley Downer I have read, and it was as good as the first, 'The Last Concubine'. A love story based in 19th Century Japan during their civil war when the shogunate came to an end. Lesley Downer lived and worked in Japan for many years and you really get the history and atmosphere of the country and it's people. Definitely recommend especially if you like history and romance.

  • Soniaibz
    2018-09-19 07:20

    Es un libro ameno que te introduce en la historia de Japón de la época. Por parte de la protagonista femenina sobre los barrios del placer de Japón. Y por parte del protagonista masculino sobre la guerra. Es curioso pero me interesaban ambas historias por separado, una vez que se unieron me empezó a aburrir. En general entretenido. Lo que más me gustó fueron los datos reales que da la autora al final del libro.

  • Michelle
    2018-09-29 10:08

    This novel was ok to read once. I enjoyed reading the chapters where Hana was the narrator but I found myself skipping chapters which focused on Yozo because I wasn't at all interested in his experiences in the war. I was expecting the plot to be a great romance full of passion but the 2 characters don't meet until your well into 2 thirds of the story. I guess one good thing has come out of reading this book, it has put me off reading any more novels about geishas.