Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I was up until 4 am last night reading a new book that arrived in the mail. The book is The Painter of Shanghai by author Jennifer Cody Epstein. The publisher has been touting The Painter of Shanghai as a novel written in the same style of Memoirs of a Geisha, writing that readers who enjoyed Arthur Golden's immensely successful novel will be sure to take pleasure in reading The Painter of Shanghai.
Here is a brief synopsis of the novel: Down the muddy waters of the Yangtze River and into the seedy backrooms of "The Hall of Eternal Splendor," through the raucous glamour of prewar Shanghai and the bohemian splendor of 1920s Paris, and back to a China ripped apart by civil war and teetering on the brink of revolution: this novel tells the story of Pan Yuliang, one of the most talented—and provocative—Chinese artists of the twentieth century.
I have really been enjoying this book, part of the reason I lost track of time and stayed up way too late. For her part Epstein has done a great job keeping the story moving along at an interesting pace, combining elements of Chinese history, poetry, and language into the narrative that make the book feel real. The author also develops a cast of rich characters that include Pan Yuliang, her uncle, the madam of "The Hall of Eternal Splendor", and another prostitute. I am looking forward to continuing reading this book.
I am also very happy to announce that I will be doing an interview with Jennifer Cody Epstein to talk about The Painter of Shanghai, the writing of her first novel, and her inspiration for writing a novel set in China.
Is anyone else reading this novel? What do you think? What would you ask Epstein? Please do reply.