Skip to main content

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. :)

Popular posts from this blog

2015 Reading

1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…

2016 Reading

1. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
3. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
4. Liar: A Memoir, by Rob Roberge

1. The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
2. Girl in the Woods, by Aspen Matis
3. She Left Me the Gun, by Emma Brockes
4. Because of the Lockwoods, by Dorothy Whipple
5. The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch
6. To Show and to Tell, by Philip Lopate

1. Fierce Attachments, by Vivian Gornick
2. Too Brief a Treat, by Truman Capote
3. On the Move: a Life, by Oliver Sacks
4. The Go-Between, by LP Hartley
5. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
6. Giving Up the Ghost, by Hilary Mantel
7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. The Great American Bus Ride, by Irma Kurtz
9. An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Radfield Jamison
10. A Widow's Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
11. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder
12. The Liar's Club, by Mary Karr
13. An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard
14. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972Originally published: 1944My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press)How I acquired my copy:, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…