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The Painting by Nina Schuyler
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The Painting (2004)

by Nina Schuyler

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I wish I could give this book 5 stars! Such a beautiful story... but I found it to be poorly structured and loaded with historical inaccuracies. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Historical fiction about VERY loosely connected stories in Japan and Paris during the Franco-Prussian war. Characters connected (sort of) through a beautiful painting that is sent as packing materials around Japanese pottery.

I thought this book was dreadful! For one thing, I don't know that much about Japanese history during the Meiji restoration, but I'm pretty sure there were some anachronisms on that end of things. And I'm positive that women in 1870 France didn't wear "bras"! Beyond this, the writing was very "pretty" but nothing spectacular, and I found it hard to care about any of the characters. ( )
  sansmerci | Sep 2, 2013 |
Set during the Franco-Prussian War. ( )
  picardyrose | Mar 2, 2007 |
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Book description
In 1869 Japan, a young woman escapes the confines of her arranged marriage by painting memories of her lover on mulberry paper. She secretly wraps the painting around a ceramic pot that's bound for Europe. In France, a disenchanted young man works as a clerk at an import shop. When he opens the box from Japan, he discovers the brilliant watercolor of two lovers locked in an embrace under a plum tree. He steals the painting and hides it in his room. With each viewing, he sees something different, and gradually the painting transforms him.

Set outside the new capital of Tokyo during the Meiji Restoration and in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War, The Painting is a richly imagined story of four characters whose lives are delicately and powerfully entwined: Ayoshi, the painter, pines for her lover as she dutifully attends to her husband; Ayoshi's husband, Hayashi, a government official who's been disfigured in a deadly fire, has his own well of secret yearnings; Jorgen, wounded by the war and by life, buries himself in work at the Paris shop; and the shop owner's sister, Natalia, who shows Jorgen the true message of the painting.

Exquisitely written and utterly spellbinding, The Painting reveals the enduring effect of art in ordinary life and marks the debut of a skilled stylist and first-rate storyteller.
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Set near the new capital of Tokyo during the Meiji period and in Paris during the Franco-Prussian War, The Painting is a richly imagined story of four people whose lives are delicately and powerfully entwined: Ayoshi, the painter, pines for her lover as she dutifully attends to her husband; Ayoshi's husband, Hayashi, scarred by a deadly fire that almost killed him as a child, has his own well of secret yearnings; Jorgen, crippled by the war and tormented by his own lost love, buries himself in work at the Paris shop; and the shop owner's sister, Natalia, determined to fight for the French cause, seeks Jorgen's help and shows him the true message of the painting.… (more)

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