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Balzac y la joven costurera China by Sijie…

Balzac y la joven costurera China (original 2000; edition 2001)

by Sijie Dai, Manuel Serrat Crespo (Translator)

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5,217180855 (3.6)376
Title:Balzac y la joven costurera China
Authors:Sijie Dai (Author)
Other authors:Manuel Serrat Crespo (Translator)
Info:Barcelona : Salamandra
Collections:Your library

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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (2000)


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English (160)  Spanish (5)  French (4)  Italian (3)  Catalan (3)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  All languages (180)
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
Interesting book about what happens to people when a society is thrown into upheaval, as well as the effect that education can have. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
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. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
A story that shows the human need for and value of stories. The ending explains the title. ( )
  raizel | Jan 23, 2016 |
Well, maybe 2.5 stars. After all, I didn't dislike it so much as I just didn't like it. It is said to be a sort of autobiographical book, but I didn't get the point. If the point was friendship, it was lacking. If the point was the power of literature, it was stunted. If the point was social and cultural repression, it was boring.

This novel was made into a movie, which I can't understand, either. I don't see enough material in the184 pages to make a movie.

Getting to the title, which is what caused me to purchase the book, Balzac is Honoré de Balzac, a French novelist and playwright. With no real legacy in the United States, his most famous claim to fame to me is his influence on Charles Dickens. With that being said, the English reader is much more familiar with this author, as BBC miniseries' would suggest.

The little Chinese seamstress played a supporting roll, but no more than Four-Eyes or the headman. Again, her significance in the novel is not immediately evident to me. Unless she represents the effect of literature on a person. However, I would argue that her unplanned pregnancy may have contributed to her life change in a more substantial way than Luo's verbal renditions of the written contraband.

I cannot recommend this one. ( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
During Mao's cultural revolution in China many children of intellecual parents were sent to the countryside to be 're-educated' into the peasant lifestyle. Luo, the son of a famous dentist, and the narrator of the story, the son of 2 doctors, have been brought to the Phoenix mountain area where their days are now spent carrying buckets of excrement to fertilize fields or working in cramped spaces in the local coal mine. The teen boys make the acquaintance of the local tailor's daughter, known as the little seamstress, and they both become enamored of her beauty but it is Luo who begins a clandestine affair with the girl. Another friend of theirs whom they call 'four-eyes' has a secret stash of Western novels that the boys covet and when the young men help 'four-eyes' to find his missing glasses he rewards them with a book by Balzac. This first taste of literature opens wondrous worlds to the boys and they hunger for more of the forbidden books. Luo spends his time with the seamstress reading passages from the book and she, too, comes under the spell of the story. The three young people will be led in directions they never imagined by the hidden books.

I enjoyed this relatively short book about a culture that supressed all but politically chosen reading materials for its people. Having grown up with so many books at my fingertips thanks to parents who were avid readers I can totally understand the thirst these young people had for literature. The only quibble I have the with story is that it was so short and sparse. I would have liked to learn much more about the boys lives before and after their 're-education' and the ultimate fate of their friend the seamstress.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (98 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dai Sijieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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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)

(summary from another edition)

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