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The Painter of Shanghai Paperback – 3 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141029331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141029337
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 423,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Among the new names worth keeping an eye on (Robert McCrumb, Observer )

About the Author

Jennifer Cody Epstein has worked as a journalist in both the US and Asia. She has a Bachelors' degree in English/Asian Studies from Amherst College, a Masters in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University, and a MFA in fiction from Columbia. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and two daughters.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
When the session is over, Yuliang retreats to the chipped sink in the atelier's corner. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tami Brady TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 12 July 2008
Format: Paperback
Xiuqing grew up believing that she was destined to become an artist, the next great female poet or perhaps a talented painter. When her mother died, little Xiu was taken in by her uncle. While he fanned her dreams, his own opium addiction would take the young girl on a very different path. Thus, at fourteen, Xiuqing became Yuliang, one of the girls working at The Hall of Eternal Splendor.

For several years, Yuliang's existence was dictated by the whims of the Godmother who ran The Hall and the men who frequently the establishment. However, after the murder of her best friend, Yuliang's life suddenly changed. She met a man who appreciated and encouraged her natural curiosity and love of learning so that Pan Yuliang's true talents could eventually surface.

If you liked Memoirs of a Geisha, you'll love The Painter of Shanghai. Both stories share the stories of young girls thrown into a world beyond their comprehension who rise above their circumstances. However, I have to admit that I actually preferred The Painter of Shanghai. In life, Pan Yuliang was a courageous woman who followed her truth no matter what the consequences. Her strength and perseverance is an inspiration to us all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Isola on 28 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The painter of Shanghai is based on the actual life of Pan Yuliang, a former child prostitute turned celebrated artist. Her life unfolds against a backdrop of dramatic change in Chinese culture and politics during the early nineteen hundreds. We're told that Yuliang's unconventional work, mainly nudes, pushed the boundaries of the times, but descriptions of her paintings are quite vague. Also, her life as a prostitute seems a bit understated compared to the rest of her history.

The author has obviously researched well and has written in a visual style, which I liked, but at times I felt slightly skeptical of her story, although it was based on truth. And I found myself left with several unanswered questions.

Overall, an enjoyable read, but not an original play with orientalism. It definitely falls short of 'Memoirs of a Geisha'. But if you haven't read Arthur Golden's classic, you probably won't be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alexa on 15 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Painter of Shangai is based on the true story of Pan Yuliang, a Chinese painter from the early-mid 1900's. Yuliang was sold into prostitution as a child and this book tells the story of how she escaped this desperately miserable life to become one of the most celebrated painters and artists in the East.

It is beautiful story which is both inspiring and fascination - even more so because it is true. It really throws you into life in China at this time. The descriptions are vivid and create an amazing image in your mind's eye. Reading this book has given me an urge to visit the cities of the story.

The main downside to this story is that, without a prior knowledge of CHinese history, it may be difficult to understand the context of the book. The period in which the story takes place was a time of great upheaval in China. A lot of things that happened in the book were a result of this and readers unfamiliar with this time period may be left feeling a bit confused.

Despite this, The Painter of Shanghai is a beautiful story. Yuliang is a truly inspiring character who, despite massive difficulties and resistance, never gave up on what she believed in and what she loved.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rabbie Burns on 15 Jun. 2009
Format: Paperback
Although the character was a real person, and the author has done a lot
of research, it has to be kept in mind that this is a novel. Jennifer
Cody Epstein has, in my opinion, created a perfect balance in this
thoroughly captivating novel..I am astonished I haven't heard more of
this wonderful author.
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By Mercedes on 10 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book arrived on time. The book was in excellent conditions.
It is a dry interesting novel although a little bit of Chinese Culture history helps for understanding better some bits of the book.
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