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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by…

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2000)

by Dai Sijie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this book. I imagined myself as a young, middle school-aged boy from the city whose life has already changed and now must undergo a greater change by being sent away to be re-educated, even they his schooling had already been limited because of the new political regime. And now you are with your best friend away from all you know.

That's how I imagine this book to be - a quick, playful read, that gives much details in some areas but merely implies in another. The reader is left with a feeling of dissatisfaction with the way way the story is left. ( )
  mmoj | Mar 2, 2017 |
This is the story of two city dwelling teen boys sent to a rural mountain area for "re-education" in the time of China's cultural revolution. Their parents are professionals stripped of their professions but not their lives, like many were, by the "government". The boys are educated and can read, unlike the people of the village where they're sent.

They become storytellers, reciting movies they've seen in detail to the delight of the peasants. The little seamstress is the daughter of a busy tailor, and the boys come to know both of them. Another boy sent to this village to work has brought banned books with him -- nearly all books are banned and burned except a few the dictator sanctions. People can be imprisoned for having books or even talking about them. The boy's books are hidden in his room, found accidentally by the two friends.

One boy courts the little seamstress and eventually reads to her from one of the books. She is enchanted. This is the story of what happens to all of them, partly due to access to books and learning, and at an age of awakening. ( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
Loved this quirky little book. ( )
  essjay1 | Jan 11, 2017 |
I did like this a lot, but really, the fuss people have made over it! It's a coming of age story set in China during the cultural revolution. Features young male friendship and bonding, falling in love with the same girl, and the backdrop of forbidden Western literature, which in my opinion, these two young men greatly over rate. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
** spoiler alert **

I liked a lot about this book, and the main character, and it's premise of reading forbidden western books in communist China, but I was filled with dismay by the approach the author took to the abortion. I understand that in communist China, the Little Seamstress wouldn't have had a choice but to get an abortion, but the way the abortion was presented too lightly. The ending of the book was not very satisfying either, I couldn't believe Luo would burn the books for anything less than avoiding discovery, and even then... I was also confused by the sudden character POV switch near the end.

There were scenes I liked. At the beginning when Luo and the main character (whose name, if we were ever told it, I can't remember) saved the MC's violin by saying that he had played a concerto called "Mozart Loves Chairman Mao." That was interesting and served to show what a weird environment they were living in that claiming such an outrageous title for a Mozart piece could save a violin. I liked it when they stole the books from Four-Eyes, and I really liked the scene when they were fixing the village chairman's cavity, but given my high expectations for the book, I was quite disappointed. ( )
  NicoleSch | Nov 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 169 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (98 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dai Sijieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Häupl, MichaelForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Induni, Giò WaeckerlinÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marfany, MartaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mottinger, RudolfContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rilke, InaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schneider, HelmutInterviewersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The village headman, a man of about fifty, sat cross-legged in the centre of the room, close to the coals burning in a hearth that was hollowed out of the floor; he was inspecting my violin.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385722206, Paperback)

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress is an enchanting tale that captures the magic of reading and the wonder of romantic awakening. An immediate international bestseller, it tells the story of two hapless city boys exiled to a remote mountain village for re-education during China’s infamous Cultural Revolution. There the two friends meet the daughter of the local tailor and discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation. As they flirt with the seamstress and secretly devour these banned works, the two friends find transit from their grim surroundings to worlds they never imagined.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:31 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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.… (more)

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