Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

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Vintage, 2002 - China - 172 pages
87 Reviews
In 1971 Mao's campaign against the intellectuals is at its height. Our narrator and his best friend, Luo, distinctly unintellectual but guilty of being the sons of doctors, have been sent to a remote mountain village to be 'reeducated'. The kind of education that takes place among the peasants of Phoenix Mountain involves carting buckets of excrement up and down precipitous, foggy paths, but the two seventeen-year-olds have a violin and their sense of humour to keep them going. Further distraction is provided by the attractive daughter of the local tailor, possessor of a particularly fine pair of feet. Their true re-education starts, however, when they discover a comrade's hidden stash of classics of great nineteenth-century Western literature - Balzac, Dickens, Dumas, Tolstoy and others, in Chinese translation.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dbsovereign - LibraryThing

If the characters were drawn with a bit more detail, I think I would have been able to accept the ending a little easier. Otherwise, I enjoyed the book which shows us a world where books can change lives - even in the often dismal days of the Cultural Revolution in China. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mermaidatheart - LibraryThing

In a literary world becoming overrun with rotating points-of-view and legnthy, intricate storylines; this was a refreshing read. Tightly woven, subtle, but still quick-moving, it had the feel of a ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Born in China in 1954, Dai Sijie is a film maker and novelist, who left China in 1984 for France where he now lives and works. He is the author of the international bestseller, Balzac and the Chinese Seamstress (shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction prize) - which he made into a film - Mr Muo's Travelling Couch (winner of the Prix Femina) and Once on a Moonless Night.

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