Ghost Brush

by Katherine Govier | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1554686431 Global Overview for this book
Registered by HoserLauren of Burlington, Ontario Canada on 5/24/2010
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Monday, May 24, 2010
Received to review from Harper Collins.

From Amazon:
In an art gallery in Washington, DC, Rebecca is accosted by a ghost -- O-Ei, the daughter of the great Japanese printmaker Hokusai. Long consigned to a minor role as gloomy sidekick, O-Ei wants her rightful place in history.

O-Ei recounts her life with one of the great eccentrics of the nineteenth century. Dodging the Shoguns spies, she and Hokusai live amongst actors, novelists, tattoo artists and prostitutes, making the exquisite pictures that define their time. Disguised, the pair escapes the city gates to view waves and Mount Fuji. But they return to enchanting, dangerous Edo (Tokyo), the largest city in the world.

She does not cook or sew, and is not beautiful, but O-Ei has her secret joys. Wielding her brush, O-Ei defies all expectations of womanhood -- all but one. She is dutiful until death to the exasperating father who created her and who, ultimately, steals her future. Rebecca is left to discover why and how O-Ei vanished from her own time, and from history.

Both a feat of scholarship and a breathtaking work of imagination, The Ghost Brush shines fresh light on the very contemporary issues of authorship and masterworks. But above all it illuminates the most tender and ambiguous love of all -- that between father and daughter.

Journal Entry 2 by HoserLauren at Toronto, Ontario Canada on Monday, May 31, 2010
Oei is the daughter of a famous Japanese painter Hokusai, living in 19th centry Edo, Japan. Despite being from a large family, Hokusai picks Oei as his apprentice and she is obviously his favourite child. The two paint and travel together, coming up with new ideas for paintings. When the North Star school is opened, they start taking students to ghost brush under similar names as Hokusai. As Oei grows older, her paintings become more beautiful. Some think that she could surpass her father, yet she is too loyal to her father to take the steps to make that happen.

The art and the culture of Japan are an important part of the book but the relationships are equally important. Oei falls in love with those she can't have or can't hold on to for long. She has relationships with a prostitute, other artists, actors, novelists, but most important is her father. She endures his abuse and love, helps him with his money and commissions, goes in his place to talk to foreigners, and takes care of him while his health declines. Can Oei move past her relationship with her father to live with one brush or will her work forever be known as Hokusai's work?

I find that most books that are based in Japan have a certain grace to them, that this book also possesses. The story doesn't move quickly but it is elegantly told and even though the characters are different from a normal fiction book, you can't help but pull for Oei and hope that she's given the recognition she deserves.

I loved the way the paintings were described. I could imagine the vivid colours that Oei prided herself in and could picture what those paintings looked like. It's obvious that a lot of research was put into this book and that Govier has seen thousands of Japenese paintings to be able to describe them as she did.

This book will be one I still remember by the end of the year.

Journal Entry 3 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Thursday, June 10, 2010
This book is with me now

Journal Entry 4 by wingAceofHeartswing at Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Friday, July 02, 2010
Oei is the daughter of a famous Japanese painter Hokusai, living in 19th century Edo(Toyko), Japan. This is the era of emperors and shoguns. The western world is feared and kept as far as possible from the Japanese.

Hokusai has a large family but chooses his daughter as his apprentice and helper. He loves her and abuses her. Oei is left to deal with their finances, often moving from place to place to dodge creditors. Living conditions are not the best especially for a young lady. Oei lives next to the brothels and be-friends prostitutes. On occasion they even have to leave town due to what Hokusai has said or painted.

Oei becomes an artist in her own right but is under her father's studio and thus her art has his stamp on it.

Oei's relationships are flawed. She is continually choosing men whom she can not have or do not want her. Even her relationship with her father is a love-hate one which the reader sympathizes with. Hokusai is a selfish arrogant unthinking man who really does not think of his daughter's well-being at all.

I loved this book. The prose is very lyrical and the descriptions of pictures make them appear right before you.. I found that while reading this book it seemed like a non-fiction account rather than a historical fiction. The story was so interwoven with the facts it all seemed so real. Oei and Hokusai are truly unforgettable characters.

Journal Entry 5 by HoserLauren at Toronto, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Mailed today from the Asian book swap!

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