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

by Sijie Dai (Author), Manuel Serrat Crespo (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,882None943 (3.61)337
Member:olaia999
Title:Balzac y la joven costurera China
Authors:Sijie Dai (Author)
Other authors:Manuel Serrat Crespo (Translator)
Info:Barcelona : Salamandra
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:ficción

Work details

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

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» See also 337 mentions

English (145)  Spanish (6)  French (4)  Italian (3)  Catalan (3)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  All languages (166)
Showing 1-5 of 145 (next | show all)
A book about the amazing power of books and stories.

Favorite quote:
"I was carried away, swept along by the mighty stream of words pouring from the hundreds of pages. To me it was the ultimate book: once you had read it, neither your own life nor the world you lived in would ever look the same." ( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
A book about the amazing power of books and stories.

Favorite quote:
"I was carried away, swept along by the mighty stream of words pouring from the hundreds of pages. To me it was the ultimate book: once you had read it, neither your own life nor the world you lived in would ever look the same." ( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
The cover captured me as did the description that said the reader would hear what it was like for two teenage boys to be sent to the mountains for re-education during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. However, the book didn't come through. I couldn't see or feel the setting in the mountains except for small parts, and never got a feel for the characters. I didn't care that much what happened to them until close to the end when I thought something was about to happen and I wanted to know what. But it didn't happen for me. The end. Boring. Two stars. ( )
1 vote mkboylan | Dec 2, 2013 |
Two Chinese teenage boys are sent to a village to be "re-educated" because their parents were not following communist rule. They survive with the help of literature and a girl they fall in love with.
This story is supposed to be autobiographical. At first I thought this book was rather charming, but the charm has worn off after a few weeks. Now, despite the setting which is a bit unusual for me, I only remember it as a bit mediocre. ( )
  JustJoey4 | Nov 18, 2013 |
This slight novel tells the story of two young Chinese men who are sent to a remote mountain village to be “re-educated” during the cultural revolution of the 1970s. Both youths are talented individuals; the unnamed narrator plays the violin, and his best friend Luo is a master storyteller. Despite these gifts, however, they soon feel oppressed by the overwhelming boredom of their new lives, where they are forced to perform manual labor from dawn to dusk. But two unexpected events soon occur, changing the course of their lives forever: they discover a hidden cache of Western classics translated into Chinese, and they meet a beautiful young seamstress who steals both their hearts.

This is a very short book, and it honestly felt more like a tableau than a novel to me. The setting is described vividly with meticulous prose, but nothing much happens. I think I was expecting the book to be more overtly political, since the author was himself “re-educated” during this time period and ended up leaving China for France. But while the cultural revolution certainly isn’t praised, the boys’ lives aren’t portrayed in a particularly negative light either. Also, their exposure to Western culture isn’t always a good thing; in fact, their relationship with the seamstress is irrevocably altered by her exposure to European literature. So I was very interested by the ambiguities in the novel, but the plot and characters didn’t particularly grip me. I’d like to read another novel (or nonfiction work) about this time period, which seems like it would be rich in dramatic material.
  christina_reads | Oct 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 145 (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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:08 -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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