Home       About Us       Salsa Store       Referral       Lifebooks       Recipes       Videos       Blog Headers

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Book Review: The Painter from Shanghai

Have you read this book "The Painter from Shanghai," by Jennifer Cody Epstein? I'm participating in the virtual book tour and got the opportunity to review the book and blog about it. Cool beans. DSC02300 First, I should confess that I LOVE reading, but am certainly not your typical book reviewer. I used to be able to read an entire book in one day (oh the luxury), but now, with two three-year-olds at the helm, only get to read tiny little bits at a time. Sometimes it can take a month just to finish one book. And the ones that don't immediately grab my attention are carelessly set down, buried in kid debris, and never picked back up. Not the case with this book. The Painter from Shanghai was an interesting read from page one to page 408. I was drawn in by the intricate settings, the captivating characters, the rich language and imagery that Epstein used, and especially the interesting artistic observations and lessons. I also found myself returning again and again to the vivid descriptions of China, both physical and cultural. The story is based on the life of Pan Yuliang, China's foremost female post-impressionist painter (although she protested the insertion of the word "female" in that descriptor). It's a frank look at the tragedies and triumphs of Yuliang's life and her emergence as an artist. You can see some of her paintings here, if you're curious like I was. The Painter from Shanghai isn't a puffy, light, summer read. Pan Yuliang's life was not easy, not at any point, but it's a fascinating story of a unique, daring woman and one that I'd highly recommend. It's interesting how many of the casual artistic observations in the book apply to so many things in life. As one example, when Yuliang's art teacher extends her an astonishing invitation to attend the Shanghai Art Academy, he interupts her protestations with "My dear, one of the first things you must learn, if you are to enter this terrible field, is to ration out your anxieties—and there will be many—to where they're truly needed." So true! You can find the book in any of the big bookstores, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders. If you've already read it, I'd love to hear what you thought, good or bad. And I'd also like to get your recommendations for other book titles to add to the must-read list this summer.

18 comments:

  1. Ooh. I love reading once Ellie (finally) gets to bed! Thanks for this title. I just finished Shanghai Girls which was enjoyable and fairly quick reading. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous6/23/2009

    Have you read the reviews on Amazon? Did they resonate with your feelings about the story?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi M3! Thanks so much for all the time and effort that went into reading and reviewing "Painter"! I know it's not easy with two little girls bouncing around (been there, done that!) I really appreciate your participation in the tour. THanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I highly recommend the book:
    The number one lady's detective agency.
    Such a good book!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am actually reading this book right now. I agree, not an easy read. She had a really difficult life. It is compelling and makes me want to keep reading.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you. I'd heard good things about this book (as I can relate on several levels) and you've certainly confirmed it. Now just to find time between now and China.

    Suppose I'll squeeze it in?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Looks like a good read! Thanks for posting - I'm putting on my read next list!

    ReplyDelete
  8. So glad you read this for Lisa at TLC book tours! Since I don't update my adoption blog anymore (Forks&Chopsticks) I now focus my time on book blogging and have written many reviews for TLC! For once my old blogging buddy has connected with my new one!! Cool!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I will have to read this book!!! I am finishing The Book Theif. AMAZING good read! I highly recommend if you have not read this already...

    ReplyDelete
  10. You've probably already read it, but Snow Flower & The Secret Fan was really good. In general I've liked Lisa See's work.

    Also The Red Tent and Water For Elephants were good. As is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle that I'm reading now.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I second the good reviews for Snow Flower... and Water for Elephants (loved that one)

    Thanks for the review. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just ordered this book for my Kindle. Thanks for the suggestion. I jsut finished Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. You would probably enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ooooo, thanks for the book recommendation! If you haven't read "Snowflower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See ~ you should! It is an amazing book!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for the review. Probably as close as I will get to reading it. With kids ranging from 16 to 3, reading rarely, if ever happens. I was happy to read you understand that. I hate to admit tho' that mine has come to a complete stop. And that picture of your feet and book, has always been a fav of mine.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sounds like a good read, I'll have to add it to my list. I've just started "My Sister's Keeper". A different topic, but good so far. Want to read it before the movie.
    Thanks for your book review.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Kristina6/25/2009

    I just finsihed the Twilight books....yes, the teenager books-a recommendation from one of Kyle's friends that I have known since kinder...she begged me to read them and while they are not the greatest novel ever written-they were a quick read and I now get why the 13 year olds are obsessed with vampires! gave me "cool mom" status that I could talk about the characters with them!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I actually looked at this the other day, and wondered what readers have thought.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous6/25/2009

    Thanks for the review, I'm always looking for new great books! Have you read The Time Traveler's Wife, and if so are you looking forward to the movie? I'm nervous, I hope they will be faithful to the book and not change too much.

    Misty

    ReplyDelete