Monday, December 18, 2006

144. "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" ~ Dai Sijie


Two young men, victims of "re-education" under Mao, are sent to a remote village in China. Poorly educated, book hungry, they find an acquaintance who has a trunk full of novels. Each book is devoured, then served up to the little Chinese seamstress, the princess of the hills, the most beautiful girl in the area.

Part history, part love story, this novella is entertaining and informative. I had no idea that General Mao cut off education to hundreds of thousands of Chinese, sending these would-be students to act as slave labor for villagers.

I appreciated the desire to spend all night reading, then reprinting the words on the inside of a sheepskin jacket, to hold the words close.

This is the first time in a while where I didn't anticipate the end of the novel.

4.25 out of 5.0 Red Royals.

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