Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Reviews of The Printmaker's Daughter by Katherine Govier

The Printmaker's Daughter

A Novel

by Katherine Govier

The Printmaker's Daughter by Katherine Govier X
The Printmaker's Daughter by Katherine Govier
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Paperback:
    Nov 2011, 512 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Mark James
Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Vivid, daring, and unforgettable, The Printmaker's Daughter shines fresh light on art, loyalty, and the tender and indelible bond between a father and daughter.

Recounting the story of her life, Oei plunges us into the colorful world of nineteenth-century Edo (Tokyo), in which courtesans rub shoulders with poets, warriors consort with actors, and the arts flourish in an unprecedented moment of creative upheaval. Oei and Hokusai live among writers, novelists, tattoo artists, and prostitutes, evading the spies of the repressive shogunate as they work on Hokusai's countless paintings and prints. Wielding her brush, rejecting domesticity in favor of dedication to the arts, Oei defies all expectations of womanhood - all but one. A dutiful daughter to the last, she will obey the will of her eccentric father, the man who

Vivid, daring, and unforgettable, The Printmaker's Daughter shines fresh light on art, loyalty, and the tender and indelible bond between a father and daughter.

First published in Canada as The Ghost Brush

PART 1

1.

Introduction to the Ghost



Hey, you! You with the big chin! Oei!"

He's calling me.

I don't answer him. Not yet.

I dip the tip of the brush in the ink bowl.

I let it sink. I lift it, turn it, and press it down into the ink again.

Then I lift and tap.

I press it against the edge of the bowl, twisting so ink beads at the tip of the bristles and then drops back into the small, still, dark pool. Again I press the hairs of the brush into the ink, flattening the bulb against the bottom of the bowl, rolling it.

"Don't press so hard!" the Old Man barks.

I bare my teeth. "Shut up, Old Man." He laughs. Thinks he's distracted me.

But my hand is zealous. To spite him I press for one full minute. I lift the brush from the bowl. It is not dripping, not full, but fully moist. I hold it over the paper, balanced in my fingers. I raise and lower it, ever so slightly, giving it breath, and then touch the point to paper. I begin the fine, fine lines of the ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Govier weaves the saga of Oei's life into Japanese customs - such as the parade of courtesans, or the shaved eyebrows that signify a married woman - in a fashion that develops an intimacy between the reader, Oei, and this complex culture. It's a potent combination that results in a mystically engaging story, and though Oei may not think her life is full of incident, her legacy certainly is...continued

Full Review (582 words)

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access, become a member today.

(Reviewed by Mark James).

Media Reviews

Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Govier's expansive historical novel turns the spotlight on Oei, the 'ghost brush' attributed to some of her father's famous prints, and a character that drives a compulsively readable novel.

Booklist
Starred Review. From the hothouse ferment of art studios, bordellos, and Kabuki theater to the tonic countryside, Govier's spectacularly detailed, eventful, and emotionally stormy novel is populated by vivid characters and charged with searing insights into Japanese history and the diabolically difficult lives of women and artists.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Lavishly researched and brilliant... Govier astonishes throughout in her ability to write epic themes intimately, particularly in the lyrical, absorbing, and intense final hundred pages.

Kirkus Reviews
Although her story is hamstrung by an episodic and gangly narrative structure, Oei's quandary will resonate with female artists today.

Reader Reviews

Vivian - The Book Diva

19th Century Japan through a Woman's Eyes
The Printmaker's Daughter is at times hauntingly beautiful in bringing the lives of Ei, Shino and Hokusai to life. There were also times the story seemed sluggish, as a result I found myself having to put the book down because my attention kept ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

The Yoshiwara: Edo's 19th Century Red Light District

Katherine Govier's The Printmaker's Daughter is historical fiction based on the real-life Japanese printmaker, Hokusai - best known for his ukiyo-e* series The Adonis Plant entitled Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji - and his daughter, Ei. The character Ei spends much of her early life in the Yoshiwara, or red light district, of Edo (modern day Tokyo) where her father helps pay his bills by producing erotica known as shunga. Ei, or Oei as he calls her, works as her father's apprentice.

In real life, just as in the book, the Yoshiwara was set off from the city, and was the only place in Edo where prostitution was legal. It was also the only place that chinen, or townspeople, could mix with samurai, members of the powerful military caste...

This "beyond the book" feature is available to non-members for a limited time. Join today for full access.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Printmaker's Daughter, try these:

  • All Woman and Springtime jacket

    All Woman and Springtime

    by Brandon W. Jones

    Published 2013

    About this book

    This spellbinding debut, reminiscent of Memoirs of a Geisha, depicts, with chilling accuracy, life behind North Korea's iron curtain.

  • Forgotten Country jacket

    Forgotten Country

    by Catherine Chung

    Published 2013

    About this book

    More by this author

    Weaving Korean folklore within a modern narrative of immigration and identity, Forgotten Country is a fierce exploration of the inevitability of loss, the conflict between obligation and freedom, and a family struggling to find its way out of silence and back to one another.

We have 7 read-alikes for The Printmaker's Daughter, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Exhibit
    Exhibit
    by R O. Kwon
    Exhibit, R.O. Kwon's sophomore novel (after The Incendiaries, 2018), introduces readers to Jin Han, ...
  • Book Jacket: Somehow
    Somehow
    by Anne Lamott
    Anne Lamott knows a thing or two about love. In fact, there is so much of it exuding from her essay ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Wings Upon Her Back
    by Samantha Mills
    Faith is a delicate thing. At its best, it can offer peace in times of crisis. At its worst, it can ...
  • Book Jacket: All Fours
    All Fours
    by Miranda July
    The premise of her second novel All Fours is simple enough but also as strange as one would expect ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Long After We Are Gone
by Terah Shelton Harris
After their father's death, four siblings rally to save their family home in this gripping and hopeful tale.
Book Jacket
The Pecan Children
by Quinn Connor
Two sisters deeply tied to their small Southern town fight to break free of the darkness swallowing the land whole.
Win This Book
Win Bright and Tender Dark

Bright and Tender Dark by Joanna Pearson

A beautifully written, wire-taut debut novel about a murder on a college campus and its aftermath twenty years later.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A W in S C

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.