By Nina Schuyler
(Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Hardcover, 9781565124417, 312pp.)
Publication Date: October 1, 2004
List Price: $22.95*
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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.