Asia,  Book Reviews,  FICTION,  History

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie ** (of 4)

Listened to on tape, December 2004. It was a good story, but had two strikes against it. The author is Chinese. The book was written in French. The reader was Chinese. The reader wasn’t very good and neither was the translation. Unusual adjectives showed up frequently because the translator didn’t know how to take the appropriate liberties with language. The story is of two friends banished from their educated city life to the mountains of rural China during the cultural revolution. There they meet unusual characters, a beautiful mountain girl, and the rigidity of Maoist constrictions against books and the arts in favor of manual labor required to “re-educate” intellectuals in the mold of peasant laborers.