The Painting: A Novel

Front Cover
Algonquin Books, 2004 - Fiction - 299 pages
11 Reviews
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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Review: The Painting

User Review  - Ellen - Goodreads

A lovely story, lyrical and rich. I say that even though war-torn Paris was so dismal and the upheaval in Japan so evil but there is a richness to the descriptions of the paintings and of the food. I ... Read full review

Review: The Painting

User Review  - Sheri Rothe - Goodreads

nice to read, but I felt like the connection between the two stories was tenuous at best, and the parallels the author tried to draw in the stories (example: pigeon vs koi)was a hallow attempt at ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

JAPAN 1869
8
FRANCE 1870
33
JAPAN
49
FRANCE
71
JAPAN
89
FRANCE
109
JAPAN
133
FRANCE
156
FRANCE
192
JAPAN
213
FRANCE
223
JAPAN
241
FRANCE
254
JAPAN
267
FRANCE
274
JAPAN
285

JAPAN
174

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About the author (2004)

Nina Schuyler teaches writing at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco.

Bibliographic information