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Review: The Painter From Shanghai, by Jennifer Cody Epstein

The Painter From Shanghai is the fictional tale of a real person—the post-impressionist painter Pan Yuliang. Her life was unusual; she was sold into a brothel at age 14. Rescued by Pan Zanhua, she later became his second wife, and travelled to Paris extensively to study and work. Her work was controversial and proclaimed “depraved” (one of her nude portraits was a self-portrait), and Yuliang eventually had to move to France permanently in order to continue working. The novel takes place between 1912 and the 1950s, with the bulk of the story occurring between 1912 and the 1930s.

The Painter From Shanghai, written in the present tense (which bothered me a little at first, until I became emotionally invested in the story), it is a superb, deeply-moving novel, not unlike Ellis Avery’s The Teahouse Fire or Arthur Golden’s better-known Memoirs of a Geisha. The Painter From Shanghai is an expressive novel and as beautifully written as Yuliang’s paintings are.


Trish said…
present tense fiction bothers me a bit as well. I read an Alice Hoffman book a few years back that used this technique and I couldn't ever get used to it (there have been others, but that one comes immediately to mind). Otherwise, sounds like a beautiful book. I really enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha.
Em said…
Thanks for visiting me for Weekly Geeks! :-) I just love Dewey's idea for that!
Kobieta Feninks said…
I find you, because you read :
"The House at Riverton'.
For me it is my favourite book!!

And you describe in 9.04.2008 it is a day my birthday!!

"Painter from Shanghi" I din't read.

I writing about "House in Riverton" in my blog under link:,ID271478723,index.html

Salute Judytta
Terri B. said…
This sounds like something I'll like; will be adding it to my TBR list!
Julie P. said…
I LOVED this book. My review is here:
Marg said…
This book is calling my name! It's on my TBR list but I am not sure if or when I am going to get to it!
Teddy Rose said…
Another great review. This one is on my TBR as well.
Matt said…
Shanghai really flourished in the 1930s and 1940s. It was where the East met the West. Several of my favorite contemporary authors wrote from that period of time, including Eileen Cheng, who wrote Lust, Caution.

I'll going to start this book since most blogger have selected this one. Thanks for a great review. :)

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