August 21, 2009

August 2009: The Painter from Shanghai

"The Painter from Shanghai"
by Jennifer Cody Epstein

A work of fiction -- but based on the life and work of a real artist -- The Painter from Shanghai transports readers to early-20th-century China, a culture marked by oppression. Epstein has proven herself a shining talent in this first novel, tackling such weighty questions as: How does a talented artist blossom, even under repressive conditions? What is art, and what is love? What makes a life well lived? The answers form a mesmerizing portrait of one young woman's journey to find herself and to nourish her creative talents despite appreciable odds. -- Barnes & Noble

Jerilyn: A good “autobiographical fiction” depicting the struggles of a girl trying to find herself and stay true to who she is throughout her life. A little slow to start, but the history and changing of the times kept me going.

Chari: I really enjoyed reading about her life and getting a glimpse of what the art world in Shanghai was like at that time. Amazing what Yuliang overcame with her background and the role of women in China.

Kerry: How could you not admire this woman who had prevailed over circumstances beyond her control? And every time I read about foot binding, I cringed!

Shannon: I love historical fiction and art history so I enjoyed learning about this time in Shanghai. It became more interesting to me after Jen Sowders pointed out that it was based on a true story.

Jen S.: Good, but not great. I enjoyed it more after learning that the book was based off a real person.

Aday: I really struggled getting to the last page, and would have been fine calling it quits halfway. Looking back, I wish I had.

Kelly: It sounds like I didn't miss much by not reading the book.

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