Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Book: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

This was a book club selection, and another interesting title I probably never would have discovered on my own. The story unfolds during the era of Chairman Mao's cultural revolution, and tells of two young men who are banished to a small Chinese village for "re-education." Their only crime was being the sons of doctors, and for this they paid with hard labor and separation from their families with no hope of appeal.

As time passes, they steal a suitcase of contraband books, all by European authors, from another young man whose re-education is complete and will be returning home. The men have become friensd with the daughter of the tailor from a neighboring village and they share what they learn from the forbidden books with her. In the end, their plans do not yield the results they had hoped.

I probably could have gotten more out of this book if I'd read it more carefully and given it more thought. However, I enjoyed it as I enjoy many biographies, for the insight into life in another time and place.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
by Dai Sijie

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