Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

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Anchor Books, 2002 - Fiction - 184 pages
96 Reviews
At the height of Mao's infamous Cultural Revolution, two boys are among hundreds of thousands exiled to the countryside for "re-education." The narrator and his best friend, Luo, guilty of being the sons of doctors, find themselves in a remote village where, among the peasants of Phoenix mountain, they are made to cart buckets of excrement up and down precipitous winding paths. Their meager distractions include a violin--as well as, before long, the beautiful daughter of the local tailor. But it is when the two discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation that their re-education takes its most surprising turn. While ingeniously concealing their forbidden treasure, the boys find transit to worlds they had thought lost forever. And after listening to their dangerously seductive retellings of Balzac, even the Little Seamstress will be forever transformed.

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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 filmmaker who was himself “re-educated” between 1971 and 1974.
He left China in 1984 for France, where he has lived and worked ever since. This, his first novel, was an overnight sensation when it appeared in France in 2000, becoming an immediate best-seller and winning five prizes. Rights to the novel have been sold in nineteen countries, and it is soon to be made into a film.

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