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La Hija Del Dibujante (2014)

by Katherine Govier(Favorite Author)
3.51 of 5 Votes: 5
review 1: I read this book YEARS ago and I can still remember minute details as well as the joy and sorrow I experienced. This alone shows what an impact The Printmaker's Daughter had on me. If you don't enjoy learning about new cultures and history, specifically Japan's, this book is not for you. For the reader to understand the plot Govier illuminates the cultural and historical context, which I found absorbing but others may not. Give it a shot if you're interested; you may have the fantastic experience I did.
review 2: This Canadian writer delighted me with her insights into Japanese life and culture with her later novel Three Views of Crystal Water which led me to seek out more of her work. Here she uses her research skills to re-create the life of Oei, the daughter
... more of Hokusai who died at the remarkable age of 93 in 1849 and became famous in Europe as the inspiration of the impressionist painters, especially Van Gogh and Gauguin. His paintings of The Wave and 46 Views of Mount Fuji remain famous throughout the world today in their woodcut reproductions.The original Canadian title, The Ghost Brush is much more suitable as Govier follows an art historian’s thesis that Oei was herself a great artist and many of Hokusai’s later worked when he suffered from a palsy, must have been from her brush. The woodcut prints which were taken to Europe by the Dutch medical doctor von Siebold were carved by another equally skilled craftsman. Govier emphasises how Hokusai’s love of the sea and sky was enhanced by the Dutch supply of the new colour Prussian blue, used both by him and his rival Hiroshige whom Govier rates as a copyist. The narrative is made by Oei, whose name approximates to “Hey you” and symbolises her menial tasks as colour mixer, finisher and teacher of Hokusai’s many students, perhaps enduring an even lower status than that of most 19th century Japanese women.Oei is described by Hokusai and Oei herself as ugly, lantern jawed, short, bandy, big-eared and stubborn. She asks herself, “Why am I different from other women? Why was I doomed? Was my father the danger?...And was I truly the joke of the gods?” However, Govier has not written a tract or an apologia for the life of an unrecognised genius; she is a talented story teller and I was swept along by the narration of Oei’s extraordinary life.Another female character, Princess Shino plays a prominent role as a woman punished by her husband who forced her into prostitution or the life of a geisha until she, like the others in the brothel had paid off her debt to the madam. Oei befriends her and the accounts of the low life of the red light district of old Tokyo, Edo is one of the strengths of the novel. At this time of great change in Japan, the central power of the Shogun is weakening and the Dutch, confined to the tiny man-made island of Deshima in far away Nagasaki, are the only Westerners allowed to trade. When the young doctor von Siebold sees Oei on the annual tribute visit to the court at Edo, they trade paintings for the newly manufactured Prussian blue. All artists must be beware of the censors and spies but Hokusai is notorious for his iconoclasm and, as a court painter, one who loved the ordinary, lived a life of wandering and poverty, hanging a sign “Kokusai, peasant” at his studio door.Japanese and Chinese paintings are signed with a chock which like a rubber stamp, can be used by anyone. As many of Hokusai’s works that became famous in the Western world bore the chock denoting “Hokusai aged 88” it seems to me a reasonable conclusion to make that they were the work of Oei, his daughter. However, my main enjoyment of this novel was in its depiction of Oei’s struggle with her father and the expectations of Japanese society in times of great uncertainty and chaos which culminated in the overthrow of the Shogun and the commencement of the modern Japanese era after the arrival of the American “black fleet” whose shocking appearance, using steam power to sail against the wind may also have been first drawn by Oei in 1853. less
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I made it about halfway, and I'm just bored out of my mind. I'm not planning on finishing.
Review to come (when I have the book in front of me!).
The Asian adventure you've been waiting for.
I could not get through this book...
I thought this book would never end.
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