Painter From Shanghai, The
Jennifer Cody Epstein
Publisher:W.W Norton & Co., 2008
A fictionalized novel of the life of Pan Yuliang…
Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com
The Painter From Shanghai is a fictional account of the life of Pan Yuliang. She was born Xiuqing in 1895, orphaned at five, and raised by an opium-addicted uncle. At fourteen, he sold her to a brothel, The Hall of Eternal Splendor, where her name was changed to Yuliang.
Jinling becomes her mentor, friend, and lover, helping her to adjust to her new life. A government official, Pan Zanhua, buys her contract and makes her his second wife. It was during her marriage that she began painting. The influence of her younger life was a factor in her art. The culture she lived in did not appreciate her great talent for painting female nudes. Her work was considered shameless and pornographic. She was forced to move to France where she resided until the time of her death.
The details in Painter From Shanghai are amazing. Jennifer Cody Epstein uses words to paint a stunning portrait of Yuliang and the China she lived in. Written with beauty and intelligence, Painter From Shanghai will mesmerize readers. In this novel, her husband deeply loves her, but Yuliang was never truly capable of returning that love. Painter From Shanghai is a work of epic proportions.